Is the diagnosis of celiac disease possible without intestinal biopsy?

Maha Shomaf, Mohammad Rashid, Dana Faydi, Ahmad Halawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Coeliac disease is defined as a state of immune-mediated hyper-responsiveness to dietary gluten from wheat, barley, or rye in genetically predisposed individuals that results in tissue damage. The diagnosis is made by microscopic examination of a small intestinal biopsy, although serological testing for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase and deamidated gliadin peptide can be of great advantage. It has been suggested that duodenal biopsy can be avoided in patients with high levels of the tissue transglutaminase antibody, since a relationship has been found to be present between tissue transglutaminase antibody titres and coeliac disease. Aims: To study the correlation between tissue transglutaminase titre and small intestinal biopsy findings in patients with coeliac disease. Study Design: Diagnostic accuracy study. Methods: Ninety-five cases of patients diagnosed with coeliac disease and with positive serum tissue transglutaminase titres were retrieved from the Jordan University Hospital archives between December 2014 and December 2015. All the cases were classified according to the Marsh classification. Results: Ninety-five cases with a positive titre for the antibody were included in this study, 73 (76.8%) of them were females and 22 cases (23.2%) were males. The age of the patients ranged between 4 and 75 years with a mean age ± standard deviation of 32.3±14.7. The sensitivity was the highest in Marsh IIIC and lowest in Marsh IIIA (95% versus 68% respectively). The specificity was moderate (76%) for all subtypes of Marsh III. Conclusion: This study showed a positive correlation between the tissue transglutaminase titre and the degree of duodenal damage (Marsh IIIC) in patients with coeliac disease. In the presence of high tissue transglutaminase levels, duodenal biopsy might not be always necessary for diagnosis, particularly in symptomatic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-317
Number of pages5
JournalBalkan Medical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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