Screening for coeliac disease in preschool Greek children: the feasibility study of a community-based project


  • On behalf of the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition


Thomai Karagiozoglou-Lampoudi, M.D., “Christos Mantzoros” Clinical Nutrition Lab, Nutrition and Dietetics Department, School of Food Technology and Nutrition, Technological Education Institute, P.O. BOX 141, GR 57400, Sindos, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Tel/Fax: +302310265724




Evaluation of the prevalence of coeliac disease (CD) in Greek paediatric population.


The project consists of two parts: (i) a pilot study of preschool children aged 2–6 years to test the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of community-based screening and (ii) a CD prevalence study, by random clustered sampling and proportionate stratification of various geographical areas in Greece. Trained nonmedical staff performed a rapid immunochromatographic test to detect IgA antibodies to tTG-IgA and IgA deficiency. Toddlers with positive results were referred to a paediatric gastroenterologist for further assessment with serum anti-tTG IgA and EMA-IgA. Children with positive serum anti-tTG and anti-EMA underwent upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy and small bowel biopsy and were subsequently in gluten-free diet.


In this project participated 1136 toddlers, who were tested at school. The prevalence of positive rapid anti-tTG screening was 1:154, of IgA deficiency 1:120 and of biopsy-proven CD 1:154. The prevalence of CD from this pilot study served as expected prevalence value for sample size calculation for the main prevalence study.


This protocol using rapid immunochromatographic test for the detection of both IgA deficiency and CD is easy to be performed by nonmedical staff in a community setting, enabling the accurate identification of new CD cases among asymptomatic population.