Biliary tract disease: a rare manifestation of eosinophilic gastroenteritis

Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Mar;48(3):624-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1022521707420.


Eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE) is a rare inflammatory disease characterized by diffuse or scattered eosinophilic infiltration of the digestive tract and usually by peripheral blood eosinophilia. The most common presenting symptoms of EGE are abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, but clinical features depend on which layers or location of gastrointestinal tract are involved. Treatment with corticosteroids results in clinical and histological remission in most patients and surgery can be avoided if a correct diagnosis is made. Previous history of allergy is a key to diagnosing EGE, but peripheral eosinophilia may be absent in some patients under concomitant treatment with corticosteroids. Radiological and endoscopic findings are also nonspecific and diagnosis must always be histologically confirmed. The gastrointestinal involvement is patchy in distribution, so more than one panendoscopic examination is often necessary to establish the diagnosis, and surgical or CT-guided full-thickness biopsy is needed in patients with muscular or serosal involvement. It emphasises the importance of a high index of clinical suspicion, which mainly depends on knowledge of natural history of the disease. We report here a case of EGE associated with transmural eosinophilic cholecystocholangitis, in a patient who presented with dyspeptic symptoms and recurrent cholestasis responsive to corticoesteroids. To our knowledge, this patient represents the second case, in the English literature, in which corticoid-responsive cholangitis was associated to histologically proven eosinophilic cholecystitis and gastrointestinal involvement, suggesting that EGE must always be considered in the differential diagnosis of biliary tract disease in patients with eosinophilia and/or atopic diseases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Abdominal Pain / surgery
  • Aged
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / surgery
  • Cholecystectomy / methods
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eosinophilia / etiology*
  • Female
  • Gallbladder / pathology*
  • Gastroenteritis / complications*
  • Gastroenteritis / therapy
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Rare Diseases
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vomiting / etiology
  • Vomiting / surgery


  • Glucocorticoids