AIM: To re-evaluate all patients diagnosed histologically as having peptic duodenitis who had known endomysial antibody (EMA) test results to find out whether they would still be classified as peptic duodenitis on histological analysis and to review their subsequent clinical course. METHODS: All mucosal biopsy specimens of the second part of the duodenum which were reported as showing features of peptic duodenitis and on which a serum EMA test had been done between January 1990 and January 1995 were reviewed. The number of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) per 500 epithelial cells was also counted. The cases were re-assigned to one of three clinical categories: normal, coeliac disease or peptic duodenitis. Clinical details were reviewed for any cases where the re-assigned diagnosis and the EMA test result did not correlate. RESULTS: Of the 24 cases, 21 showed a correlation between morphology and immunology-that is, if the biopsy specimen was characteristic of coeliac disease, the EMA was positive and if the biopsy specimen was normal or characteristic of peptic duodenitis, the EMA was negative. Three cases had a negative correlation: two had a positive EMA test but a biopsy diagnosis of peptic duodenitis and one had a normal duodenal biopsy specimen with a positive EMA test. On review of their clinical details, two of the three patients were diagnosed with coeliac disease and the other with silent coeliac disease. EMA test results and IEL counts correlated with the final diagnosis in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnosis of peptic duodenitis on biopsy specimens of the second part of the duodenum was not substantiated in 92% of cases. On review of 24 cases, a histological diagnosis of peptic duodenitis was reached in four. In difficult cases, the histological appearances should be correlated with the EMA test result and the IEL count. Correlation of this kind should leave no cases of coeliac disease undiagnosed.
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