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Br Med J. 1975 March 1; 1(5956): 486–488.
PMCID: PMC1672594

Detection of continuing gluten ingestion in treated coeliac patients.


To assess the incidence and effects of continuing gluten ingestion in coeliac disease 51 adult coeliac patients were studied after four to 132 (mean 63) months on a prescribed gluten-free diet. Each patient completed a prospective dietary questionnaire, underwent a repeat jejunal biopsy, and gave serum for gluten antibody estimation. Altogether 65% of patients were still ingesting gluten, often inadvertently. Direct questioning on dietary habits had failed to uncover most of this consumption. The gluten antibody test proved a useful screening test for detecting continuing gluten ingestion and patients with both persistent subtotal villous atrophy and gluten antibodies were almost certain to be taking large amounts ( more than 2 g/day). The presence of persistent partial villous atrophy was found, however, to be an unreliable guide to gluten intake.

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