Effectiveness of Capsule Endoscopy and Double-Balloon Enteroscopy in Suspected Complicated Celiac Disease

Francesca Ferretti, Federica Branchi, Stefania Orlando, Leda Roncoroni, Giulio Barigelletti, Sabrina Fabiano, Maurizio Vecchi, Roberto Penagini, Luisa Doneda, Luca Elli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aims: Complicated celiac disease (CCD) is a rare but severe condition with a poor prognosis. Guidelines recommend use of capsule endoscopy (CE) to explore the small bowel (SB), followed by a double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) in selected cases with suspected CCD. Our study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic yield (DY) of CE and DBE in identifying and monitoring CCD. Methods: Consecutive suspected CCD patients were enrolled prospectively to undergo CE and/or DBE in the presence of: persistent symptoms despite a correct gluten-free diet (GFD), increased anti-transglutaminase antibodies titer, lack of adherence to the GFD, and CCD monitoring. The DY of CE and DBE were calculated. The incidence of neoplastic complications and mortality were assessed. Results: In total, 130 patients (97 women; age, 49 ± 16 y) underwent 151 CEs and 23 DBEs. The DY of CE was 46%. Patients older than age 50 years (at CE examination or at CD diagnosis) with a CD duration shorter than 5 years were at higher risk of positive CE (relative risk, 1.6 and 1.7 in case of enrollement or CD diagnosis after 50 years of age, and 1.5 in case of short CD duration; P < .05) than their counterparts. Up to 40% of SB lesions were unreachable by upper endoscopy. At the end of the diagnostic work-up, 25 patients with premalignant/malignant lesions were identified: 12 type 1 refractory CD (RCD-1), 7 type 2 RCD (RCD-2), and 6 enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL). Six patients died: 2 patients with RCD-2 and 4 patients with EATL. Conclusions: In case of suspected CCD, CE should be the first-line approach to detect complications and to identify patients deserving DBE. Older and symptomatic patients with suspected CCD deserve a careful evaluation of the SB, especially during the first years after diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Celiac Disease
  • Enteroscopy
  • Refractory Celiac Disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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