Natural history of eosinophilic gastroenteritis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Nov;9(11):950-956.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2011.07.017. Epub 2011 Jul 30.


Background & aims: Eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE) is a rare gastrointestinal disorder; little is known about its natural history. We determined the clinical features and long-term outcomes of patients with EGE.

Methods: We reviewed files from 43 patients diagnosed with EGE who were followed from January 1988 to April 2009. The diagnosis was made according to standard criteria after other eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders were excluded. We analyzed data on initial clinical presentation and long-term outcomes.

Results: EGE was classified as mucosal, subserosal, or muscular in 44%, 39%, and 12% of cases, respectively. Disease location was mostly duodenal (62%), ileal (72%), or colonic (88%); it was less frequently esophageal (30%) or gastric (38%). Blood eosinophilia (numbers >500/mm(3)) was observed in 74% of cases. Spontaneous remission occurred in 40% of patients; the majority of treated patients (74%) received oral corticosteroids, which were effective in most cases. After a median follow-up period of 13 years (0.8-29 years), we identified 3 different courses of disease progression: 18 patients (42%; 9 with subserosal disease) had an initial flare of the disease without relapse, 16 (37%) had multiple flares that were separated by periods of full remission (recurring disease), and 9 (21%) had chronic disease.

Conclusions: The clinical presentation of EGE is heterogeneous and varies in histologic pattern; about 40% of patients resolve the disease spontaneously, without relapse. Approximately 50% have a more complex disease, which is characterized by unpredictable relapses and a chronic course.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Enteritis / pathology*
  • Enteritis / therapy
  • Eosinophilia / pathology*
  • Eosinophilia / therapy
  • Female
  • Gastritis / pathology*
  • Gastritis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilic enteropathy