Celiac Crisis: A Rare but Serious Complication

August 6, 2010

Celiac Crisis: A Rare but Serious Complication

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Researchers warn of severe gastrointestinal symptoms and malabsoption seen in this condition.

Celiac crisis, a rare complication of celiac disease, can cause debilitating health problems and increase the risk of death, a new study cautions. Researchers reviewed cases of apparent celiac crisis, in which patients presented severe gastrointestinal symptoms and signs of dehydration or malabsorption. Among the patients, 33 percent exhibited total villous atrophy according to biopsy analyses, and all required hospitalization and intravenous fluids. All eventually responded to a gluten-free diet, the study noted.

Researchers concluded that patients presenting with severe diarrhea and malabsorption should be tested for celiac disease; treatment with steroids and/or nutritional support should be considered, with gluten avoidance advised for long-term recovery.

The article was published in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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