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    Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder caused by the ingestion of gluten containing foods in genetically susceptible individuals, with a worldwide prevalence of up to 1%. Currently, the only available treatment is a gluten-free diet (GFD). Screening for CD is primarily performed using serum based testing for anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies. Patients must be on a gluten containing diet at the time of testing to ensure an accurate serological result. We investigated the prevalence of a GFD in hospital clinic settings and the general population using survey data to estimate the proportion of CD patients that may be misdiagnosed for CD based on serological tests. Data were collected at clinics of a metropolitan hospital in Sydney, Australia, and the general population. Data from Medicare Benefits Scheme and tTG results from a large Australian private laboratory were reviewed for comparison. Of 778 participants who responded to the survey, 58 (7.5%) were on a GFD. More patients attending the immunology (15.9%) and gastroenterology (12.1%) clinics adopted a GFD than those attending the diabetes (2.6%) or endocrinology (6.1%) clinics, or in the general population (4.3%). More females than males excluded gluten from their diet (p<0.0001). Medicare statistics between 2013 and 2019 demonstrated an increase in CD serological testing; however, tTG data from a private pathology highlighted a stable level of elevated tTG antibodies of 3% of total tests performed. The high number of individuals on a GFD is likely impacting the ability to accurately diagnose CD using serum-based testing. Copyright © 2022 Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. All rights reserved.


    Alexander Richardson, Stephanie Chu, Mary Agapides, Stephen Adelstein, Lucinda Wallman, Louise Wienholt. Gluten-free diet adherence and implications for the diagnosis of coeliac disease. Pathology. 2022 Aug;54(5):606-610

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    PMID: 35337666

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