Objectives: Our objective was to determine the rate of mucosal recovery in pediatric patients with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet. We also sought to determine whether immunoglobulin A tissue transglutaminase (tTG) correlates with mucosal damage at the time of a repeat endoscopy with duodenal biopsy in these patients.
Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of 103 pediatric patients, younger than 21 years, with a diagnosis of celiac disease defined as Marsh 3 histology, and who underwent a repeat endoscopy with duodenal biopsy at least 12 months after initiating a gluten-free diet.
Results: We found that 19% of pediatric patients treated with a gluten-free diet had persistent enteropathy. At the time of the repeat biopsy, tTG was elevated in 43% of cases with persistent enteropathy and 32% of cases in which there was mucosal recovery. Overall the positive predictive value of the autoantibody tTG was 25% and the negative predictive value was 83% in patients on a gluten-free diet for a median of 2.4 years.
Conclusions: Nearly 1 in 5 children with celiac disease in our population had persistent enteropathy despite maintaining a gluten-free diet and immunoglobulin A tTG was not an accurate marker of mucosal recovery. Neither the presence of symptoms nor positive serology were predictive of a patient's histology at the time of repeat biopsy. These findings suggest a revisitation of monitring and management criteria of celiac disease in childhood.