Gallbladder motility in children with celiac disease before and after gluten-free diet

Authors Subhamoy Das, Sadhna B. Lal, Vybhav Venkatesh, Anish Bhattacharya, Akshay Saxena, B. R. Thapa, Satya Vati Rana.


Background Gallbladder (GB) hypomotility has been reported in adults with celiac disease (CD), but there is no literature on GB dysfunction in children with CD. We aimed to study GB motility in children with CD, before and after a gluten-free diet (GFD), using ultrasonography (USG) and technetium-99 labeled mebrofenin hepatobiliary scintigraphy (HBS).

Methods Children with newly diagnosed CD were enrolled and evaluated for GB ejection fraction (GBEF) using HBS and USG. Those with reduced GBEF on initial HBS were again evaluated after 6 months of strict GFD and the results were compared.

Results Of the 50 children with CD (mean age 9±2.1 years, 54% boys), 16% (n=8) had a low GBEF at baseline (19±13%). These children had a significantly greater delay in diagnosis compared to those with normal GBEF (6.5±2.0 vs. 2.3±1.2 years, P<0.001). A significant improvement in GBEF was noted on HBS post GFD (74±12%1 vs. 9±13%, P<0.001). GBEF also improved significantly as assessed by USG parameters after GFD (P<0.001). The fasting GB volume decreased (5.7±1.4 vs. 10.2±2.6, P=0.002), with a significant improvement in percentage postprandial GB volume change (52±10.5% vs. 24±16.5%, P=0.007) compared to baseline pre-GFD values. Orocecal transit time was also increased in children with reduced GBEF.

Conclusions GB function is impaired in at least 16% of children with CD at diagnosis and is reversible with GFD. GB dysfunction is significantly associated with a delayed diagnosis and may be a part of general gastrointestinal dysmotility.

Keywords Gallbladder ejection fraction, gluten-free diet, hepatobiliary scintigraphy, celiac disease

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (3): 385-391

Original Articles