Frequency of coeliac disease in children with breath-holding spells




Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), which is reported very commonly among patients with breath holding spells (BHS), is the most common presentation of coeliac disease (CD). In that aspect, IDA may be a common pathway linking these two diseases. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of CD in patients with BHS.


We studied 348 children with BHS, and 470 age- and sex-matched controls with no known disease. Serological screening for CD was performed in all patients by searching for serum tissue transglutaminase immunoglobulin A.


The first group consisted of 348 children with BHS (231 males, 117 females; mean age 2.23 ± 1.84 years), and the second group consisted of 470 healthy children (284 males, 186 females; mean age 2.11 ± 1.98 years). A total of 300 (86.2%) patients had cyanotic type of BHS only, 27 (7.8%) had pallid type of BHS only and 21 (6%) had mixed type of BHS. The prevalence of IDA was statistically significantly higher in BHS patients compared with controls. Tissue transglutaminase immunoglobulin A was not detected as positive in any patients in either group; therefore, endoscopic and histopathological examinations were not performed.


Our report is the first to describe the frequency of tissue transglutaminase immunoglobulin A positivity in patients with BHS. There was no evidence of a relationship between CD and BHS, but IDA seems to be an important risk factor in the development of BHS. Therefore, serological screening for CD in patients with BHS does not seem to be necessary.