Objective Histological evaluation of intestinal biopsies for the diagnosis of coeliac disease can be challenging and compatible with risk of misdiagnosis. The aim was to evaluate the agreement of pathological diagnosis for coeliac disease in children investigated at four major paediatric university hospitals in Sweden. Materials and methods Intestinal duodenal biopsies were collected from 402 children at median 9.7 years (1.4-18.3 years). A pathologist at each hospital performed the primary evaluation. A designated pathologist, blinded to the primary evaluation, performed a second Marsh classification of biopsies (M0 to M3c) taken from the bulb and duodenum separately. Kappa (κ) scores between first and second evaluation determined the agreement. Plasma samples were collected at the day of intestinal biopsy and analysed for tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies (tTGA) using radioligand-binding assays. Results Marsh scores were concordant in 229/356 biopsies (64%, κ = 0.52, p < 0.0001). Among discordant results, 15/127 (12%) showed M0 in distal duodenum but ≥ M2 in the bulb, whereas the opposite was true for 8/127 (6%) of the biopsies. There were fewer collected duodenal biopsies, more missing bulb biopsies and missing CD3 staining among discordant evaluations. The second evaluation revealed a Marsh score compliant with coeliac disease in 22 children of whom seven children were tTGA positive. Conclusions The variation between university hospitals on the pathological evaluation of biopsies may lead to misdiagnosis of coeliac disease in paediatric patients. Access to clinical and endoscopic information as well as tTGA levels may be useful for the pathologist to complement the evaluation in dubious cases.
- Gastroenterology and Hepatology