Background: Symptoms of vomiting and dysphagia in children with eosinophilic esophagitis may be related to the development of mucosal fibrosis.
Aim: Our aims were to (1) investigate esophageal fibrosis in children with EoE compared to patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease and normal individuals, and (2) to assess the degree of mucosal fibrosis in patients with EoE before and after medical treatment.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of esophageal biopsies from patients with EoE, GERD, and normal mucosa was performed. Demographic data, clinical information, eosinophil number, and sub-epithelial fibrosis was compared among the groups. A similar comparison was performed in EoE patients, before and after therapy.
Results: Esophageal biopsies from 53 children were included, of which 17 with EoE, 17 GERD, and 19 were normal. A significantly higher number of eosinophils and greater fibrosis was found in EoE patients vs. GERD and normal (fibrosis grade 2: 13 patients in the EoE group vs. one patient for each control group; p=0.0001). After therapy, a significant decrease in fibrosis and eosinophils number was noted in EoE patients [fibrosis grade 2: 10 (71.5%) patients vs. one (7.1%) patient, and eosinophil count was 35.5/HPF vs. 13.4/HPF, pre- and post-therapy, respectively; p<0.05]. The decrease in esophageal fibrosis paralleled the improvement in the related clinical symptoms.
Conclusion: A higher degree of esophageal fibrosis was found in patients with EoE compared to GERD or normal esophagus. Conventional therapy in EoE improved obstructive symptoms, decreased eosinophils count, and reversed the degree of fibrosis. We suggest that appropriate therapy in patients with EoE will improve clinical symptoms and histology.