Celiac
Answer Bank

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Are biopsies of the small intestine conclusive?

Generally, antibody blood tests and biopsies are sensitive and specific enough to clearly diagnosis celiac disease. However, because no test is perfect, a firm diagnosis should include antibody blood screening, biopsies and response to a gluten-free diet. Although biopsies are the standard for diagnosis, periodically they do not lead to a clear diagnosis. Many factors can contribute to an unclear biopsy, such as:

  • Incorrect orientation of the biopsies when taken from the small intestine.
  • Insufficient number of biopsies from a broad sample of the small intestine.
  • Inexperience of the pathologist.
  • Gluten-free diet started prior to biopsies.
June, 2013

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