AIM: To evaluate the feasibility and utility of confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) in the description of normal gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa and in the diagnosis of GI disorders in children, in comparison to histology.METHODS: Forty-four patients (19 female) median age 10.9 years (range 0.7-16.6 years) with suspected or known GI pathology underwent esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (OGD) (n = 36) and/or ileocolonoscopy (IC) (n = 31) with CLE using sodium fluorescein and acriflavine as contrast agents. Histological sections were compared with same site confocal images by two experienced pediatric and GI histopathologists and endoscopists, respectively.RESULTS: Duodenum and ileum were intubated in all but one patient undergoing OGD and IC. The median procedure time was 16.4 min (range 7-25 min) for OGD and 27.9 min (range 15-45 min) for IC. A total of 4798 confocal images were compared with 153 biopsies from the upper GI tract from 36 procedures, and 4661 confocal images were compared with 188 biopsies from the ileocolon from 31 procedures. Confocal images were comparable to conventional histology both in normal and in pathological conditions such as esophagitis, Helicobacter pylori gastritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, colonic heterotopia, and graft versus host disease.CONCLUSION: CLE offers the prospect of targeting biopsies to abnormal mucosa, thereby increasing diagnostic yield, reducing the number of biopsies, decreasing the burden on the histopathological services, and reducing costs.