Scientists Prove Celiac Disease Is Under-Diagnosed Due To A Result Of Low Biopsy Rates

According to a recent article in Medical News Today Celiac Disease is under diagnosed as a result of low amounts of small bowel biopsies during endoscopies.  

Most patients go through blood tests to see if they have antibodies that could be a sign of celiac disease. Then the next step would be to undergo an endoscopy to retrieve a tissue sample from the small intestine to confirm the condition. However, from the findings that were recently published in the Journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy proves that most people do not receive the biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

"This study shows that some of these undiagnosed patients may be coming to see a gastroenterologist and still are not getting the biopsy they need for a diagnosis," said lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., M.S. Dr. Lebwohl is an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases and a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia.

Dr. Lebwohl and his team of researchers obtained data between 2004 and 2009 from the Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative National Endoscopy Database (CORI-NED) to identify all patients who had an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for reasons, such as weight loss, iron deficiency, anemia, or diarrhea (which are signs of celiac disease). The analysis included more than 13,000 people. However, researchers found that fewer than half (around 43 percent) of the endoscopies included a biopsy.

"We know that the blood tests for making this diagnosis are not perfect, and so we argue that most patients having an endoscopy for one of these reasons should have a biopsy of the small intestine to test for celiac disease," Lebwohl said.

Also in conclusion to their research they found that men, elderly men and women, African-Americans and Hispanics also have lower rates of biopsies compared to women.

The report concludes that the researchers will be continuing their studies and aim to educate physicians on the benefits of small bowel biopsies.

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