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Minerva Medica 2010 June;101(3):129-34


language: English

Role of routine small intestinal biopsy in adult patient with irritable bowel syndrome-like symptoms

Pironti A., Tadeu V., Pedroni A., Porcu A., Manca A., Massarelli G., Realdi G., Dore M. P.

1 Departiment of Clinical Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy; 2 Department of Obesity Surgery, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy; 3 Department of Pathology and Anatomy, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy; 4 First Medicine Clinic, University of Padua, Padua, Italy


Aim. The clinical evaluation of patients with chronic diarrhea and/or abdominal pain requires a complex work-up. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether routine duodenal biopsy sampling of macroscopically normal mucosa of patients with irritable bowel syndrome-like symptoms undergoing upper endoscopy assists in diagnosis and management.
Methods. Consecutive adults scheduled for upper endoscopy for evaluation of uninvestigated dyspepsia and abdominal pain and/or chronic diarrhea based upon the history, were enrolled. Gastric biopsies and 3 duodenal biopsies were taken for histological evaluation.
Results. A total of 786 sets of biopsies from 262 consecutive patients (200 females and 62 males, mean age 46 years; range: 15-82), were analyzed. Microscopic damage was observed in 212 of 262 patients (81%) with normal mucosa. Mild to moderate and severe duodenitis or villi atrophy was histologically confirmed in 65%, 26% and 8% of 212 patients respectively. The negative predictive value of a normal appearing duodenal mucosa was 19%. Additional tests confirmed celiac disease in 12 patients. Lactose malabsorption was present in 42%, bacterial overgrowth in 14%, and H. pylori infection in 28%. Colonoscopy performed in 92 patients revealed non specific colitis (25%), microscopic colitis (28%), Crohn’s disease (1%), and diverticulosis (15%).
Conclusion. Duodenal biopsies revealed abnormalities in the majority of adults with chronic diarrhea and/or abdominal pain despite macroscopically normal gross findings. These results suggest that duodenal biopsies could be helpful in patients with chronic diarrhea and/or abdominal pain for the following work up.

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