Optimizing the diagnosis of celiac disease

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Purpose of review

The diagnostic approach in celiac disease is continuously evolving as our understanding of its pathophysiology improves. This review aims to provide a summary of contemporary work that supports optimization of the diagnosis of this common yet underdiagnosed condition.

Recent findings

The recently updated National Institute of Clinical Excellence and European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition guidelines and the contentious biopsy-free diagnostic approach will be discussed. We will review the evidence advocating optimal biopsy techniques such as single bite biopsy and controversial bulb biopsy sampling to increase diagnostic yield. Recent data providing phenotypical characterization and clinical outcomes of celiac subtypes such as potential celiac disease, seronegative celiac disease and ultrashort celiac disease will be covered. We will present emerging evidence on novel case finding strategies with point of care tests. Promising novel markers for celiac disease such as serum intestinal fatty acid binding protein and in-vitro gluten challenge will be included.


Recent work has demonstrated the clinical significance of the celiac disease subtypes, emphasizing the importance of careful diagnosis and recognition. There is a move toward a less invasive and perhaps more cost-effective diagnostic approach in celiac disease, but duodenal biopsy remains the gold standard at present for all adults and the majority of pediatric patients.

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