Seronegative coeliac disease: clearing the diagnostic dilemma


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewSeronegative coeliac disease is a poorly defined form of coeliac disease that poses an important challenge to clinicians particularly with regards to the differential diagnosis. This is probably because of lack of a consensus on its definition and incorrect use of specific coeliac serology. Seronegative coeliac disease (SCD) is uncommon and epidemiological data are scarce and contrasting. Therefore, the aim of this review is to provide a critical summary of the most recent work on this topic and a definition of SCD.Recent findingsSCD is rare among coeliac patients but conversely SCD remains one of the most common causes of seronegative villous atrophy. The diagnostic workup of seronegative villous atrophy (SNVA) must ensure exclusion of other enteropathies before starting patients on a lifelong gluten-free diet. This is crucial in order to ensure that patients are not given the wrong diagnosis, which in turn can have implications for their inappropriate treatment and long-term morbidity. Finally, there is some data to suggest that seronegative enteropathies have a higher mortality than conventional coeliac disease.SummarySeronegative coeliac disease is a rare condition that accounts for a very small percentage of cases in the large population of coeliac patients. Strict criteria for the diagnosis of this condition need to be fulfilled and prompt identification of these patients is crucial in order to ensure the appropriate intervention on a case-by-case basis.

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