A phenotypic analysis shows that eosinophilic esophagitis is a progressive fibrostenotic disease

Gastrointest Endosc. 2014 Apr;79(4):577-85.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2013.10.027. Epub 2013 Nov 23.


Background: Phenotypes of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) are not well-characterized.

Objective: To describe clinical features of patients with EoE with predefined phenotypes, determine predictors of these phenotypes, and make inferences about the natural history of EoE.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Tertiary-care center.

Patients: Incident EoE cases from 2001 to 2011 that met consensus diagnostic guidelines.

Intervention: Review of records.

Main outcome measurements: Endoscopic phenotypes, including fibrostenotic, inflammatory, or mixed. Other groups of clinical characteristics examined included atopy, level of esophageal eosinophilia, and age of symptom onset. Multinomial logistic regression assessed predictors of phenotype status.

Results: Of 379 cases of EoE identified, there were no significant phenotypic differences by atopic status or level of eosinophilia. Those with the inflammatory phenotype were more likely to be younger than those with mixed or fibrostenotic (13 vs 29 vs 39 years, respectively; P < .001) and less likely to have dysphagia, food impaction, and esophageal dilation (P < .001 for all). The mean symptom length before diagnosis was shorter for inflammatory (5 vs 8 vs 8 years; P = .02). After multivariate analysis, age and dysphagia independently predicted phenotype. The odds ratio (OR) for fibrostenosis for each 10-year increase in age was 2.1 (95% CI, 1.7-2.7). The OR for dysphagia was 7.0 (95% CI, 2.6-18.6).

Limitations: Retrospective, single-center study.

Conclusion: In this large EoE cohort, the likelihood of fibrostenotic disease increased markedly with age. For every 10-year increase in age, the odds of having a fibrostenotic EoE phenotype more than doubled. This association suggests that the natural history of EoE is a progression from an inflammatory to a fibrostenotic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / genetics
  • Esophageal Stenosis / complications
  • Esophagus / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / complications
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult