Fingerprints were obtained from 46 patients with celiac disease and compared with those of 46 control subjects matched for sex and ethnic origin. Whorls were more frequent and ulnar loops were less frequent, significantly, in celiac patients than in controls. A digital pattern of four or more whorls was present in 69% of celiac patients, but in only 28% of controls (p < 0.001). As a diagnostic test, the fingerprint's sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 66, 73, 67, and 71%, respectively. Similarly, a pattern of four or less ulnar loops was evident in 44% of celiac patients as opposed to only 19% of controls (p < 0.005). Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 46%, 81%, 62%, and 63%, respectively. We conclude that particular dermatoglyphic patterns are significantly more common in patients with celiac disease than in controls. We therefore suggest that this marker be used as a diagnostic clue, indicating the need for further investigation.
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