Updated International Consensus Diagnostic Criteria for Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Proceedings of the AGREE Conference

Gastroenterology. 2018 Oct;155(4):1022-1033.e10. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.07.009. Epub 2018 Sep 6.


Background & aims: Over the last decade, clinical experiences and research studies raised concerns regarding use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) as part of the diagnostic strategy for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). We aimed to clarify the use of PPIs in the evaluation and treatment of children and adults with suspected EoE to develop updated international consensus criteria for EoE diagnosis.

Methods: A consensus conference was convened to address the issue of PPI use for esophageal eosinophilia using a process consistent with standards described in the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II. Pediatric and adult physicians and researchers from gastroenterology, allergy, and pathology subspecialties representing 14 countries used online communications, teleconferences, and a face-to-face meeting to review the literature and clinical experiences.

Results: Substantial evidence documented that PPIs reduce esophageal eosinophilia in children, adolescents, and adults, with several mechanisms potentially explaining the treatment effect. Based on these findings, an updated diagnostic algorithm for EoE was developed, with removal of the PPI trial requirement.

Conclusions: EoE should be diagnosed when there are symptoms of esophageal dysfunction and at least 15 eosinophils per high-power field (or approximately 60 eosinophils per mm2) on esophageal biopsy and after a comprehensive assessment of non-EoE disorders that could cause or potentially contribute to esophageal eosinophilia. The evidence suggests that PPIs are better classified as a treatment for esophageal eosinophilia that may be due to EoE than as a diagnostic criterion, and we have developed updated consensus criteria for EoE that reflect this change.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Eosinophilic Esophagitis; Esophageal Eosinophilia; Proton Pump Inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Consensus
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Digestive System / standards*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / drug therapy
  • Gastroenterology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors