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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2002 October;93(5):419-36

language: Italian

RDW: new screening test for coeliac disease?

Guglielmi V., Manchisi M., Pellegrini V., Tutino M., Guerra V.


Background. Notwithstanding the presence of numerous examinations for screening coeliac disease, it may still escape timely diagnosis. For this reason we carried out an investigation to see whether simple haematochemical anomalies (as revealed in what are now routine examinations carried out during hospitalisation) might make diagnosis quicker or at least trigger the suspicion of coeliac disease.
Methods. Retrospectively, of 21 adult patients admitted to our hospital for the first time and who were diagnosed with coeliac disease, we considered haemoglobin, iron, calcium, potassium, albumin and RDW (part of the normal blood count).
Results. We found that elevated RDW was the most frequent anomaly (67% of patients) of the six haematochemical parameters observed. In addition, it became normal in most patients after a gluten-free diet.
Conclusions. Elevated RDW was more frequent than sideropenic anaemia in patients with coeliac disease. In addition, RDW indicates a response to diet therapy because it became normal after a gluten-free diet.

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