Celiac Disease Associated With Aplastic Anemia in a 6-Year-Old Girl

A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Omar Irfan; Sana Mahmood; Heera Nand; Gaffar Billoo


J Med Case Reports. 2018;12(16) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background Celiac disease may present with hematological abnormalities including long-standing anemia. Both aplastic anemia and celiac disease have a similar underlying autoimmune process but an association between the two is seldom reported. There have only been three pediatric cases reporting this association and this case is the first reported in a female pediatric patient.

Case presentation We report a case of 6-year-old South Asian girl presenting with bruises, petechiae, and recent history of loose stools. On evaluation, she was diagnosed as having celiac disease and was put on a gluten-free diet and further investigations including bone marrow biopsy revealed pancytopenia. She was managed with packed red cells, platelets, and diet restrictions and had improving platelet counts over yearly follow ups. Her parents were counseled regarding the need for bone marrow transplant.

Conclusions This is the fourth case report suggesting an association between celiac disease and aplastic anemia in the pediatric population and this association could be more common than expected. Timely intervention of either celiac disease through strict gluten-free diet or aplastic anemia through immunosuppressive therapy could potentially reduce the risk for other autoimmune conditions. We can see that all four pediatric cases reported with this potential association are from South East Asia and hence larger studies would be prudent to explore this association.