Making the diagnosis of coeliac disease: is there a role for push enteroscopy?

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Nov;16(11):1143-6. doi: 10.1097/00042737-200411000-00010.


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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Duodenum / pathology
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal / methods*
  • Female
  • Gliadin / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Jejunum / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Gliadin