At-risk groups commonly undergo screening for autoantibodies associated with celiac disease. However, the clinical significance of a positive test remains unclear.
In this study, doctors from the United States evaluated growth and clinical features of children who tested positive for an autoantibody associated with celiac disease.
The team performed a case-control study of Denver area healthy infants and young children with and without celiac disease autoantibodies.
|Cases had lower z scores for weight-for-height and for body mass index.|
The children were followed from birth for the development of immunoglobulin A antitissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (TG).
The team performed a clinical evaluation, questionnaire, blood draw, and small bowel biopsy. In addition, growth and nutrition and frequency of positive responses were measured.
When compared with 100 matched TG-negative controls, the team found that the 18 TG-positive children had a greater number of symptoms. They also had lower z scores for weight-for-height and for body mass index.
Furthermore, responses that were independently associated with TG-positive status were irritability/lethargy, abdominal distention/gas, and difficulty with weight gain.
Dr Edward Hoffenberg's team concluded, "Screening-identified TG-positive children demonstrate mild alterations in growth and nutrition and report more symptoms than control subjects".
"Additional study is needed on the benefit and risk of identifying celiac disease in at-risk groups".