Aim: To evaluate the clinic features of eosinophilic gastroenteritis and to examine the diagnosis, treatment, long-term outcome of this disease.
Methods: Charts with a diagnosis of eosinophilic gastroenteritis from 1984 to 2002 at Mackay Memorial Hospital were reviewed retrospectively. There were 15 patients diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteritis. The diagnosis was established in 13 by histologic evaluation of endoscopic biopsy or operative specimen and in 2 by radiologic imaging and the presence of eosinophilic ascites.
Results: All the patients had gastrointestinal symptoms and 12 (80%) had hypereosinophilia (absolute eosinophil count 1,008 to 31,360/cm3). The most common symptoms were abdominal pain and diarrhea. Five of the 15 patients had a history of allergy. Seven patients had involvement of the mucosa, 2 of muscularis, and 6 of subserosa. One with a history of seafood allergy was successfully treated with an elimination diet. Another patient improved spontaneously after fasted for several days. The remaining 13 patients were treated with oral prednisolone, 10 to 40 mg/day initially, which was then tapered. The symptoms in all the patients subsided within two weeks. Eleven of the 15 patients were followed up for more than 12 months (12 to 104 months, mean 48.7), of whom 5 had relapses after discontinuing steroids (13 episodes). Two of these patients required long-term maintenance oral prednisolone (5 to 10 mg/day).
Conclusion: Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare condition of unclear etiology characterized by relapses and remissions. Short courses of corticosteroids are the mainstay of treatment, although some patients with relapsing disease require long-term low-dose steroids.