Faecal occult blood in children with coeliac disease

Raanan Shamir, Arie Levine, Michal Yalon-Hacohen, Rivka Shapiro, Ilan Zahavi, Yoram Rosenbach, Aharon Lerner, Gabriel Dinari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has recently been suggested that in adults with coeliac disease, faecal blood loss may play a role in the development of iron deficiency. A group of 45 children diagnosed with coeliac disease during 1996 and 1997 were therefore prospectively evaluated for the presence of gluten in their diet, iron deficiency anaemia, and faecal occult blood. Sixty children admitted for elective surgery or asthma served as controls. Faecal occult blood was found in four iron deficient children on normal diet, of whom three were newly diagnosed. Occult blood loss disappeared in three of the four children when gluten was removed from their diet. Faecal occult blood was found in 26.7% of children on gluten-containing diet, but not in children on gluten-free diet (P = 0.01), or in control children (P = 0.001). Conclusion Our data suggest that the incidence of occult blood loss in coeliac disease occurs mainly in newly diagnosed cases and responds to a gluten-free diet. Occult blood testing may not be warranted in the absence of iron deficiency anaemia nor in children with iron deficiency anaemia who are on a gluten-free diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-834
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Coeliac disease
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Occult blood


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