Objective: Celiac disease (CD) has a prevalence of 0.55% to 1% in Italy. Identifying CD in schoolchildren to characterize CD iceberg and evaluate the effect of diagnosis in screening-detected children. Methods: A total of 7377 5- to 8-year-old children were invited to participate. A total of 5733 salivary samples were collected and tested for anti-transglutaminase antibodies (tTGAb), using a fluid-phase radioimmunoassay. Salivary tTGAb-positive children were analyzed for serum antibodies (anti-endomysium antibodies, radioimmunoassay, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tTGAb). Positive children underwent endoscopy and then started gluten-free diet (GFD) and periodical follow-up. Results: Forty-six subjects were found salivary tTGAb-positive and 16 border-line. Forty-five of 46 and 5 of 15 of them were also serum antibody-positive. Forty-two children showed duodenal villous atrophy and 1 had only type 1 lesions. Three children started GFD without performing endoscopy. CD prevalence (including 23 previously diagnosed children with CD) was 1.2%. Considering all 65 celiacs in our sample, a silent CD was found in 64%, typical in 28%, atypical in 7%, and potential in 1%. All patients showed strict adherence to GFD, weight and stature increase, and well-being improvement. Eighty-five percent and all but 2 screening-detected children with CD had Italian parents. Conclusions: Our sample size, representative of primary schoolchildren of our region, demonstrated that CD prevalence is growing in Italy, with a modified clinical spectrum and iceberg deepness.
The Celiac Iceberg: Characterization of the Disease in Primary Schoolchildren / Nenna, Raffaella; Tiberti, Claudio; Petrarca, Laura; Lucantoni, Federica; Mennini, Maurizio; Luparia, RITA PIA LARA; Panimolle, Francesca; Mastrogiorgio, Gerarda; Pietropaoli, Nicoletta; Magliocca, Fabio Massimo; Bonamico, Margherita. - In: JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGY AND NUTRITION. - ISSN 0277-2116. - 56:4(2013), pp. 416-421. [10.1097/mpg.0b013e31827b7f64]