Unsuspected coeliac disease in chronic 'cryptogenic' liver disease

Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
S LindgrenS Eriksson

Abstract

Earlier reports have suggested that a relationship exists between chronic liver disease and coeliac disease (CD). Gliadin antibodies (GA) have been used to screen for CD. Using a micro-enzyme-linked immunosorbent procedure, we analysed sera from 327 consecutive patients with chronic liver disease for GA (IgA and IgG) and evaluated their clinical significance. GA were detected in 19 patients (6%), a prevalence six times greater than that found in healthy blood donors. In 9 of the 19 patients the liver disease had been classified as cryptogenic. The occurrence of GA was independent of the degree of hepatocellular impairment. A diagnosis of CD was confirmed in 5 of the 10 patients who underwent small-bowel biopsy. Our findings suggest the prevalence of CD in patients with chronic liver disease to be at least 1.5%--that is, 15 times higher than in the general population. They also suggest that the possible presence of CD should be considered in cases of chronic 'cryptogenic' liver disease.

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