Celiac disease presenting as rickets in Saudi children

Ann Saudi Med. 2013 Jan-Feb;33(1):49-51. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2013.49.


Background and objectives: Rickets is commonly seen as a sign of malabsorption like celiac disease if it is not treated appropriately with vitamin D and calcium supplements. The aim of this study was to examine the frequency of diagnosis of celiac disease among children with unexplained rickets in Saudi children at a tertiary hospital setting.

Design and setting: Retrospective review of records of patients referred over 10 years to a pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology unit.

Patients and methods: The study included all patients referred for evaluation of unexplained rickets and osteomalacia and screened for celiac disease. The diagnosis of rickets was made on the basis of history, physical examination, biochemical and radiological investigations. The diagnosis of celiac disease was made based on the ESPGHAN (European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition) criteria.

Results: Twenty-six children with a mean (SD) age of 9.5 (4.6) years (5 males, range 1-15 years) were referred for evaluation of unexplained rickets and were screened for celiac disease. The diagnosis of celiac disease based on small bowel biopsy findings was confirmed in 10 (38.4%) patients with rickets. Serological markers for celiac disease including antiendomyseal antibodies and antitissue transglutaminase antibodies were positive in all ten children.

Conclusion: Rickets is not an uncommon presentation of celiac disease in Saudi children and pediatricians should consider celiac disease as an underlying cause for rickets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Factor XIII / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rickets / diagnosis
  • Rickets / etiology*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Transglutaminases / analysis
  • Transglutaminases / immunology
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Vitamin D
  • Factor XIII
  • Transglutaminases