Background: Push enteroscopy is used in the assessment of refractory coeliac disease. However, its value in making the diagnosis of coeliac disease is still not defined.
Methods: Thirty-one patients (22 females, nine males) were recruited prospectively between September 2001 and October 2002; the age range was 20-80 years (mean age, 52.7 years). All patients had symptoms suggestive of coeliac disease and positive serology but duodenal biopsy was not diagnostic. Twenty-three patients had positive IgA or/and IgG antigliadin antibodies, eight patients had positive endomysial antibodies (EMA). All patients underwent enteroscopy with repeat quadrantic duodenal and additional jejunal biopsies.
Results: All samples were reviewed by a single, blinded, histopathologist. There were no cases of coeliac disease diagnosed on further biopsy in patients who had a positive gliadin antibody in isolation. In the eight EMA-positive cases repeat biopsy demonstrated coeliac disease in five patients. In 3/5 cases the changes were confined to the jejunal biopsies only.
Conclusion: EMA-positive patients with initially normal histology should have a further duodenal biopsy. In our series three of the five newly diagnosed coeliac disease patients only had villous atrophy demonstrable in the jejunum. There may be a role for push enteroscopy in making the diagnosis of coeliac disease. However, further prospective studies are needed.