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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 22, Issue 6, Pages 574-576
Brief Communication

Celiac Crisis in an Adult on Immunosuppressive Therapy

Owayed Al Shammeri and Donald R Duerksen

Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Received 13 November 2007; Accepted 5 February 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


‘Celiac crisis’ is a rare presentation of celiac disease with manifestations that include severe diarrhea, and severe metabolic and electrolyte abnormalities. It is most frequently seen in children younger than two years of age and has been rarely described in adults. A case of a 50-year-old woman who presented with diarrhea, severe dehydration, hypokalemia and metabolic acidosis is described. Based on positive serology and small bowel biopsy, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. She also had histological evidence of lymphocytic colitis. Microscopic colitis has not previously been described in association with celiac crisis, but it may have contributed to the presentation of celiac crisis in the current case. The patient was on corticosteroids and azathioprine for autoimmune hepatitis at the time of her presentation. The current case demonstrates that modest immunosuppression does not prevent a celiac crisis, although previous reports have shown that patients may respond rapidly to high-dose corticosteroids.