Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases in Childhood

Ann Nutr Metab. 2018;73 Suppl 4:18-28. doi: 10.1159/000493668. Epub 2019 Feb 19.


Eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs) comprise a group of chronic, inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, that are characterized, clinically, by symptoms related to the dysfunction of the involved segment(s) of the GI tract, and histologically, by dense eosinophilic inflammation, in the absence of an identifiable secondary cause. The group of EGIDs comprises eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), eosinophilic gastritis (EG), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EGE), and eosinophilic colitis (EC). EoE is the most common and the best described EGID compared to EG, EGE, and EC. The clinical presentation of the EGIDs differs depending on the location and the extent of the eosinophilic infiltration in the GI tract, as well as its depth through the bowel wall. In the absence of biological markers, the diagnosis is based on the combination of clinical symptoms with the histological features of EGIDs, after the exclusion of secondary causes of eosinophilic inflammation of the GI tract. Treatment is individualized and includes elimination diets (mainly empiric or elemental) and/or drugs, according to the involved GI segment: proton pump inhibitors or local steroids in EoE; local or oral systemic steroids in EG/EGE limited to the duodenum; oral systemic steroids in EGE with lower small intestine and/or colon involvement. In patients with EoE, maintenance treatment with lower doses may be considered following histological remission with the means of drugs. In patients treated with elimination diets, disease food triggers identified during food reintroduction need to be further eliminated. Esophageal stenosis despite medical treatment requires endoscopic dilation, while the use of thiopurines or anti-TNF drugs may be considered in refractory or steroid-dependent EGID (other than EoE). The aim of this review is to provide the available evidence on each of the above disorders, to aid clinicians to interpret the clinical manifestations and the laboratory findings and choose the best available treatment option.

Keywords: Eosinophilic colitis; Eosinophilic esophagitis; Eosinophilic gastritis; Eosinophilic gastroenteritis; Eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colitis / diagnosis
  • Colitis / physiopathology
  • Colitis / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enteritis / diagnosis*
  • Enteritis / physiopathology
  • Enteritis / therapy
  • Eosinophilia / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilia / physiopathology
  • Eosinophilia / therapy
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / physiopathology
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / therapy
  • Food Intolerance / diagnosis
  • Food Intolerance / physiopathology
  • Gastritis / diagnosis*
  • Gastritis / physiopathology
  • Gastritis / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilic enteropathy