Outcomes of Seropositive Patients With Marsh 1 Histology in Clinical Practice

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We retrospectively studied all seropositive Marsh 1 patients seen at 2 tertiary care hospitals in the last 15 years to determine their clinical, serological, and histologic outcomes.


Patients with positive celiac serologies and Marsh 1 histology represent an understudied subgroup of patients, and it is unclear whether they should be advised to adopt a gluten-free diet (GFD).


Subjects were identified based on positive celiac serologies and Marsh 1 histology while on a full-gluten diet. Clinical presentation and baseline laboratory data were noted. Clinical course, repeat serologies, and histology were determined.


Of 620 patients with positive celiac serologies and abnormal duodenal histology, we identified 36 (5.8%) with positive tissue transglutaminase and/or antiendomysial antibodies and Marsh 1 lesions who had adequate follow-up. Abdominal pain was the commonest (47.2%) presenting symptom. Twenty-eight patients were advised to adopt GFD, whereas 8 were not. Among patients treated with GFD, 88.9% improved symptomatically and 95% normalized serology. In contrast, among patients who continued to consume gluten, 85.7% remained symptomatic and 80% had persistently positive serologies. Among the 8 patients on normal diet, 5 underwent repeat biopsy, and 4 of them had the same or worse histology, with 3 patients progressing to Marsh 3c. Among the 28 patients on GFD, 5 underwent repeat biopsy and all improved to normal histology.


Most patients with positive celiac serology and Marsh 1 lesions benefit from GFD and, if not treated, a majority will continue to be symptomatic and remain at risk of progressing to villous atrophy.

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