The role of duodenal bulb biopsy in the diagnosis of celiac disease in children

Rachel Levinson-Castiel*, Corina Hartman, Sara Morgenstern, Yaron Avitzur, Akiva Hirsch, Yoram Rosenbach, Rivka Shapiro, Noam Zevit, Hava Fleischaker, Yaron Niv, Raanan Shamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND STUDY AIMS: It is suggested that for celiac disease (CD) diagnosis, biopsies should also be taken from the duodenal bulb. Whether bulb biopsies suggestive of CD can be found on upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD) done for reasons other than CD diagnosis is not clear. The aim of our study was to evaluate the contribution of routine bulb biopsies to the diagnosis of CD, when taken regardless of prior suspicion of CD. METHODS: The study included 96 children who underwent EGD for suspected CD and a control group of 69 children who underwent EGD for reasons other than CD. The mucosal changes were evaluated using the Marsh-Oberhuber classification. RESULTS: Among the 87 children diagnosed with CD, we identified 6 patients (7%) with typical histologic findings only in the bulb (Marsh 3), but also 1 patient (1.1%) with findings only in the distal duodenum (Marsh 2). In 20 patients (23%) the histological changes were more severe in the bulb. One patient had more prominent findings in the second part of the duodenum. None of the control patients had histological changes compatible with CD in the bulb or the second part of the duodenum. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that when CD is suspected, biopsies should be taken from both locations (bulb and second part) as mucosal changes may emerge only at one site. Nevertheless, the presence of characteristic histology on duodenal bulb biopsies might be sufficient for the diagnosis of CD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-29
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • bulb biopsy
  • celiac disease
  • diagnosis


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