Tanpowpong P, Broder-Fingert S, Katz AJ, Camargo CA Jr. Characteristics of children with positive coeliac serology and normal villous morphology: potential coeliac disease. APMIS 2013; 121: 266–71.
Positive coeliac serology with normal villous morphology (NVM) indicates potential coeliac disease (CD). Few studies have compared characteristics of NVM vs villous atrophy in patients with positive serology. Our aim was to determine the independent clinical predictors of NVM in children with positive CD serology. We performed a structured medical record review of patients aged 1–19 years who presented for an initial CD evaluation between 2000 and 2010 at a large teaching hospital. Data collection included demographics, medical history, prior history of gluten avoidance, CD-specific serology, oesophagogastroduodenoscopy and histopathology. Predictors of NVM (vs Marsh III) were determined using multivariable logistic regression. Among 320 patients with positive serology, we identified 62 patients (19%, 95% CI 15–24) with NVM (i.e. potential CD). Younger children may have been more likely to exhibit NVM (p = 0.06). Three significant predictors of NVM were prior gluten avoidance (OR 4.17, 95% CI 1.02–17.13), positive tissue transglutaminase antibody but <100 U/mL (OR 14.75, 95% CI 3.33–65.30), and absence of gross duodenal abnormalities (OR 3.48, 95% CI 1.51–8.03). Among children with positive CD serology, prior gluten avoidance predicts NVM. Future studies are warranted on the impact of gluten intake and CD testing in children without prior established CD diagnosis.