Coeliac disease

Paediatr Int Child Health. 2019 Feb;39(1):23-31. doi: 10.1080/20469047.2018.1504431. Epub 2018 Aug 13.


Coeliac disease (CD) develops in genetically susceptible individuals who, in response to unclear environmental triggers, develop an immune response triggered by gluten ingestion. It is now recognised as a global disease affecting about 0.7% of the world's population. The clinical presentation ranges from malabsorption to asymptomatic individuals diagnosed by screening high-risk groups. Diagnosis requires the demonstration of small intestinal villous atrophy in the presence of circulating coeliac auto-antibodies and/or an unequivocal response to a gluten-free diet (GFD). Recent guidelines suggest that, in a subset of children, duodenal biopsies can be avoided in the presence of strict symptomatic and serological criteria. While the majority of patients respond to a GFD, up to 20% of patients with CD have persistent or recurrent symptoms. There are several aetiologies for residual or new symptoms in a patient with CD on a GFD, with inadvertent exposure to gluten being the most common. Following a GFD can be challenging for patients with CD and understanding the barriers/challenges faced by patients in maintaining a GFD is crucial for compliance. Abbreviations: AGA: anti-gliadin antibodies; Anti-DGP-ab: anti-deamidated gliadin peptide antibodies; Anti-tTG-ab: anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies; ATD: auto-immune thyroid disorders; BMD: bone mineral density; CD: coeliac disease; DH: dermatitis herpetiformis; EMA: anti-endomysial antibodies; FDR: first-degree relatives; GFD: gluten-free diet; HbA1c: haemoglobin A1c; HLA: human leucocyte antigen; IBS: irritable bowel syndrome; LMIC: low- and middle-income countries; NPV: negative predictive value; NRCD: non-responsive coeliac disease; POCT: point-of-care tests; SDR: second-degree relatives; SIBO: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth; T1DM: type 1 diabetes mellitus; ULN: upper limit of normal.

Keywords: Coeliac disease; anaemia; atypical coeliac disease; autoimmune disorders; diarrhoea; diet; gluten; low- and middle-income countries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis*
  • Celiac Disease / epidemiology
  • Celiac Disease / pathology*
  • Celiac Disease / therapy
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Diet, Gluten-Free*
  • Disease Management*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Prevalence