Professional Resources: Gastric Feeds, Celiac Disease

Many of our patients use Farrell bags to help with their enteral feedings; though, this decompression system is often used incorrectly.  The following is a link to the company’s instructions on how to use this product correctly. Halyard Health: Farrell System

Note: I do not have commercial ties.

From NASPGHAN -Celiac resource: NASPGHAN Clinical Guide For Celiac Disease

I reviewed this website.  Overall, this is a useful resource.  There are multiple links that address some of the nuances with celiac disease.  Interestingly, the website is not entirely consistent in its recommendations. For example, under the link “my parent/child has celiac” recommendations for screening family member are for TTG IgA and IgA (if asymptomatic) whereas under the health professional area, after diagnosis, the website recommends much more extensive testing of family members: HLA DQ2/DQ8 genetics, TTG IgA, IgA, and anti-DGP IgG testing


Celiac Disease Epidemic?

A recent prospective study (E Liu et al. Gastroenterol 2017; 152: 1329-36) reports a very high rate of celiac disease in Denver.

The authors collected data on HAL-DR, DQ genotypes in 31,766 infants.  Among the various genotypes, a total of 1339 were followed .for 20 years (starting in 1993). The key outcomes were development of celiac disease autoimmunity (CDA) indicated by persistence of anti-TTG IgA antibody for at least 3 months or development of celiac disease (CD) with biopsies showing at least Marsh 2 histologic lesions.  The authors weighted the genotypes based on their frequency in the population to develop estimates for the entire Denver population.

Key findings:

  • 66 (of 1339) developed both CD and CDA. Another 46 developed only CDA. In this group of 46, seropositivity reverted to normal in 21 (46%).
  • Cumulative incidence for CDA at 5, 10 and 15 yrs of age: 2.4%, 4.3%, and 5.1% respectively
  • Cumulative incidence for CD at 5, 10 and 15 yrs of age: 1.6%, 2.8%, and 3.1% respectively

In their discussion, the authors note that “the 3.1% cumulative incidence of CD in Denver by age 15 is the highest to date in North America and is consistent with the 3% prevalence reported in Sweden for 12 year olds born during an ‘epidemic’ thought to be the result of early introduction…of gluten.” This theory about the epidemic is has been discounted: “timing of gluten introduction is not likely a factor” though the quantity could be a factor.

My take: These rates of CD and CDA are very high; ongoing data to determine the frequency in other parts of the country are needed.  This high rate of CD is clearly bad news for a lot of people, excepting those with commercial interests in gluten free products.


For 1-3 year old, AAP recommendation for maximum of 4 oz./day of 100% juice, and for 4-6 year olds a maximum of 6 oz/day.  For 7 years and older, AAP recommends a maximum of 8 oz/day

NPR: Banana Diet for Celiac Disease

A recent report from NPR highlights a previous diet for celiac disease -the banana diet. While celiac disease had been discovered in the 1890s by Dr. Samuel Gee, the role of gluten was not understood until WWII.

NPR: Doctors Once Thought Bananas Cured Celiac Disease

Here’s an excerpt:

a high-calorie, banana-based diet [was] invented by Dr. Sidney Haas in 1924. The diet forbade starches but included numerous daily bananas, along with milk, cottage cheese, meat and vegetables…

Haas arrived at his banana diet through an honest error — one that, unfortunately, had serious repercussions for people with celiac disease. In his 1924 paper, he wrote of a town in Puerto Rico where “dwellers who eat much bread suffer from [celiac] sprue while the farmers who live largely on bananas never.”

Haas skipped over the role of wheat and focused instead on the exotic bananas, which he thought held curative powers…

But Haas’ honest error led to serious consequences. As the children recovered, wheat was reintroduced.

It was a Dutch pediatrician, Willem Karel Dicke, who first realized that wheat might be linked to celiac disease. He noticed that in the last few years of World War II, when bread was unavailable in the Netherlands, the mortality rate from celiac disease dropped to zero. In 1952, Dicke and his colleagues identified gluten as the trigger for celiac disease, and the gluten-free diet was born.


Vaccine for Celiac Disease

A recent study (KM Kemppainen et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 694-702, editorial 703-5) showed that gastrointestinal infections can trigger celiac disease (CD) and that immunization with the rotavirus vaccine was protective against developing CD.

This study is part of the TEDDY study: The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young.  The TEDDY cohort involves more than 8000 children who are part of an international prospective cohort who carry genes (HLA-DR-DQ genotypes) with increased risk for diabetes and CD. In this particular group, the authors identified 6327 children who were 4 yrs old by March 2015.

Key Definition: CD autoimmunity (CDA) -children who tested positive for tTG IgA at their annual visit and remained persistently positive 3 months later

Key Findings:

  • Gastointestinal infections (n=13,881) but not respiratory infections (n=79,816) were associated with an increased risk of CDA.  CDA risk was increased within the 3 months of the GI infection.
  • 732 of 6327 (11.6%) developed CDA.  In this cohort, 318 underwent duodenal biopsy and 283 (90%) had biopsy indicative of CD (Marsh score >1). Thus, in their cohort, there is variability in the onset of CD from the onset of CDA.
  • Risk of CDA was reduced in children vaccinated against rotavirus and introduced to gluten before age 6 months (HR =0.57).
  • The exact risk depending on interaction with multiple factors including breastfeeding, HLA genotype, seasonality of birth, and timing of gluten introduction. Timing of infection plays a role as well, as earlier exposure to GI infections earlier in life was associated with a decreased risk of celiac disease.

This reference should be kept handy for vaccine advocates.  Not only can vaccines prevent infections, but they have now been shown to prevent an autoimmune disease (CD).  In addition, previous studies have shown that vaccines can prevent cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma and cervical cancer.

My take (modified from editorial): This study “demonstrates the power of rigorously conducted prospective studies to reveal complex interactions among genetic and environmental factors.” In addition, this study shows that preventing rotavirus infection with vaccination lowers the risk of celiac disease.

Related blog posts:

SuperPoopers CCFA Team 2017

Celiac Disease and Mode of Delivery -Perhaps Not Very Consequential

Briefly noted:

A recent study (E Lionetti et al. J Pediatr 2017; 184: 81-6) did NOT find an association between mode of delivery and the development of celiac disease (CD).

After a telephone interview to confirm mode of delivery, the authors identified 431 children at high risk for CD and compared the rates of celiac autoimmunity (serology-positive) and overt CD that developed by age 5 years:

  • CD autoimmunity –cesarean vs vaginal:  24% and 19% (P=.2)
  • Overt CD –cesarean vs vaginal:  19% and 14% (P=.2)

While neither reached statistical significance, there was a higher rate in those born by cesarean mode.  The lack of a statistical association could be a reflection on sample size or the specific population that was studied.  However, more likely, this suggests that “the role of intestinal microbiota at birth in the pathogenesis of immune mediated disorders has been overestimated.”

Related posts:

La Source, Jean Auguste Dominque Ingres, Musee d’ Orsay


Caution with Celiac Genetic Testing Plus Two

Conventional wisdom and previous studies have indicated that negative testing for HLA-DQ8 and HLD-DQ2.5 alleles makes a diagnosis of celiac disease (CD), now or in the future, very unlikely.  While ~60% of the population has one of these alleles, testing negative for these alleles has been regarded as having a high negative predictive value (>99%) and can be valuable in cases of equivocal diagnosis.

The authors of recent report (F Fernandez-Banares et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 594-96) challenged this wisdom, noting that there is expected to geographical variation in the presence of these alleles. The goal of their study was to assess the prevalence of HLA-DQ2.5/8 among CD patients in Spain by reviewing previous studies; 12 studies were included. To be included, patients had to have villous atrophy, positive serology and available genotyping.

Key finding:

  • Among 2963 Spanish CD patients, 3% “might be negative for HLA-DQ2.5/8.”

This is a brief report.  It is expected that limitations would relate to the accuracy of genotyping and of excluding other causes of villous atrophy.

My take: (from the authors) “This information highlights the need to be cautious when ruling out CD only on the basis of genetics.”

Related blog posts:

Briefly noted:

L Kivela et al. J Pediatr 2017; 183: 115-21.  This study divided children with CD into those identified via screening (n=145) and those identified due to clinical symptoms (n=359). Key findings:

  • There were no differences in serology or histology between the two groups
  • More than half (51.8%) of screen-detected patients had symptoms at diagnosis, but typically these were milder than in the clinically-detected group.
  • Anemia was more common in the ‘clinical group’ 22.9% vs 7.1% (screen group) as was poor growth (36.9% vs. 15.7%).

AJ Irvine et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112: 65-76. (Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference) In this systemic review with 15,256 individuals (& 9,275 with irritable bowel), “prevalence of positive celiac serology and biopsy-proven CD was significantly higher in subjects with symptoms suggestive of IBS vs. healthy controls.”  The odds ratio for serology-positive and/or biopsy-proven CD ranged from 2.75 to 4.48, though there was no significant increase in these ORs for North American studies.

Palace of Versailles


Celiac Disease and Psychological Problems

A recent study (A Butwicka et al. J Pediatr 2017; 184: 87-93) describes an increased rate of childhood psychiatric disorders among children with celiac disease (CD).

The authors used a nationwide registry (in Sweden) with 10,903 children with celiac disease, 12,710 siblings, and more than 1 million control patients. The median age at diagnosis was 3 years and median duration of followup was 9.6 years.

Key findings:

  • CD patients had a 1.4 fold greater risk of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, eating disorders, behavioral disorders, and ADHD.
  • CD siblings did not have an increased risk.
  • 7.7% of children with CD were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder

Limitation: The actual reported incidence of psychiatric disorders seems low in both the CD patients and controls.  It is possible that some of the difference could be related to selection bias. Patients with (undiagnosed) psychiatric disorders may be more likely to be anxious, and seek out medical attention for their GI complaints;  this could precede a diagnosis of CD.

Strengths: This study has large numbers of patients and the data was prospectively obtained.

The association with increased psychiatric problems could have a biologic basis or be related to the toll of chronic gastrointestinal symptoms prior to diagnosis and the difficulty of managing CD.

My take: This is an intriguing study and suggests that patients with CD are more likely to be diagnosed with a psychological disorder.  Whether CD itself or the preceding symptoms trigger this diagnosis is uncertain.

Related blog posts:

Paris from Notre Dame