Background & aims: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a disorder characterized by a severe, isolated eosinophilic infiltration of the esophagus unresponsive to aggressive acid blockade but responsive to the removal of dietary antigens. We present information relating to our 10-year experience in children diagnosed with EoE.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study between January 1, 1994, and January 1, 2004, to evaluate all patients diagnosed with EoE. Clinical symptoms, demographic data, endoscopic findings, and the results of various treatment regimens were collected and evaluated.
Results: A total of 381 patients (66% male, age 9.1 +/- 3.1 years) were diagnosed with EoE: 312 presented with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux; 69 presented with dysphagia. Endoscopically, 68% of patients had a visually abnormal esophagus; 32% had a normal-appearing esophagus despite a severe histologic esophageal eosinophilia. The average number of esophageal eosinophils (per 400 x high power field) proximally and distally were 23.3 +/- 10.5 and 38.7 +/- 13.3, respectively. Corticosteroids significantly improved clinical symptoms and esophageal histology; however, upon their withdrawal, the symptoms and esophageal eosinophilia recurred. Dietary restriction or complete dietary elimination using an amino acid-based formula significantly improved both the clinical symptoms and esophageal histology in 75 and 172 patients, respectively.
Conclusions: Medications such as corticosteroids are effective; however, upon withdrawal, EoE recurs. The removal of dietary antigens significantly improved clinical symptoms and esophageal histology in 98% of patients.