Objective To evaluate two commercial stool tests for detection of secretory IgA antibodies against gliadin and human tissue transglutaminase for diagnosis of coeliac disease in children with symptoms.
Setting Tertiary care children's hospital.
Participants Coded stool samples from 20 children with newly diagnosed coeliac disease and 64 controls. Six children with coeliac disease had stool tests every two weeks for three months after starting a gluten-free diet.
Main outcome measures Secretory IgA antibodies against gliadin and human tissue transglutaminase in stool samples, determined in duplicate by using recommended cut-off limits.
Results Sensitivity of faecal antibodies against human tissue transglutaminase was 10% (95% confidence interval 1% to 32%), and specificity was 98% (91% to 100%). For antibodies against gliadin, sensitivity was 6% (0% to 29%) and specificity was 97% (89% to 100%). Optimisation of cut-off limits by receiver operating characteristic analysis and use of results of both tests increased sensitivity to 82%, but specificity decreased to 58%. All follow-up stool tests remained negative, except for two positive anti-gliadin results in one patient, six and 10 weeks after the gluten-free diet was started.
Conclusions Neither stool test was suitable for screening for coeliac disease in children with symptoms.