Background: An association has been described in case reports between celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. The aim of the present study is to assess the prevalence of celiac disease in a large series of Italian patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Methods: The Italian Group for Inflammatory Bowel Disease conducted a multicentre study between January 2002 and December 2004, in which 22 gastroenterology centres in Italy enrolled 1711 consecutive outpatients with inflammatory bowel disease. 860 (50.2%) had Crohn's disease (415 females, mean age 40, range 18-75), 791 (46.2%) had ulcerative colitis (371 females, mean age 40, range 18-80), and 60 (3.5%) had indeterminate colitis (27 females, mean age 40, range 18-78). All patients underwent serological testing for anti-endomysial antibodies and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies; if positive upper GI endoscopy with duodenal biopsy was performed.
Results: Nine of the 1711 patients (0.5%) had serological and histological findings compatible with the diagnosis of celiac disease; six of them had ulcerative colitis and three had Crohn's disease.
Conclusions: Overall we found a lower risk of celiac disease in our cohort of inflammatory bowel disease patients than in the general population; prevalence of celiac disease was higher in patients with ulcerative colitis than in those with Crohn's disease.
2009 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.