Celiac disease is an important cause of chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, and anemia in children. Mode of presentation of celiac disease has changed in last few years. Study was conducted to determine the mode of clinical presentation of a large group of patients with celiac disease and whether there has been a change in the presentation with the time.
A prospective study was conducted on 134 children diagnosed to be having celiac disease in the Pediatric Gastroenterology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, from July 1st 2006 to December 31st 2007. Their detailed clinical profile was recorded on a pretested proforma and all patients underwent hemogram, liver function tests, IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase (anti tTG), and upper gastro-intestinal endoscopy.
Major symptoms at presentation were diarrhea (54.5%), failure to thrive (52.2%), abdominal distension (41%), anemia (40%), pain abdomen (19.4%), vomiting (15.7%) and constipation (2.2% of cases). 60.4% of patients had short stature. Anemia was microcytic hypochromic in 79.1% of patients, and dimorphic in 20.9%. Serum transaminases were raised in 38.8% of cases. The mean serum anti tTG level was 164.24U/ml (Range 0-749 U/ml) and levels correlated with the severity of small intestinal damage on biopsy. 15 patients were negative for the serology but 8 out of them had IgA deficiency and all had histopathology suggestive of celiac disease.
Classical presentation of celiac disease is less commonly encountered these days probably related to the more widespread use of serologic testing and early recognition of atypical manifestations of celiac disease.