Duodenal bulb biopsy in children for the diagnosis of coeliac disease: Experience from Perth, Australia


  • Declaration of conflict of interest: None.

Correspondence: Dr Madhur Ravikumara, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Roberts Road, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia. Fax: +61 8 9340 8093; email: Madhur.Ravikumara@health.wa.gov.au



The study aims to assess the usefulness of duodenal bulb biopsy in the diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD) in a paediatric population.


Since February 2009, in our institution, we have routinely included duodenal bulb biopsy in addition to distal duodenal biopsies in children undergoing diagnostic upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. All children diagnosed with CD between February 2009 and May 2011 were identified, and those children who had biopsy finding of CD limited to duodenal bulb were reviewed with regard to clinical, serological and histopathological parameters. Duodenal bulb biopsy reports of those children who did not have CD were also reviewed as control group.


A total of 101 children were diagnosed with CD during the study period. The mean age was 8.21 years (±3.63), 33 males and 68 females. There were 8 out of 101 (7.92%) who had histological changes consistent with CD exclusively in the duodenal bulb, with normal histology in the distal duodenum. None of duodenal bulb biopsy was abnormal in the control group.


In some children, diagnostic CD changes may be limited to the duodenal bulb only and hence we recommend that duodenal bulb biopsies be included routinely in children suspected with CD to improve the diagnostic yield.