Symptoms of esophageal dysfunction such as food impaction are consistent with, but not diagnostic for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) without obtaining histology. We conducted a retrospective study to characterize patients with food impaction at a tertiary center. We hypothesized that many patients with food impaction may be lost to follow-up and that many have features suggestive of EoE. Adult patients presenting to the emergency department with esophageal food impaction were identified from an endoscopic database. Electronic medical records were manually abstracted. We examined associations between demographics, comorbid conditions, and follow-up with biopsy findings. Of 220 patients who presented to the emergency department for food impaction, 74.1% were men. Adequate follow-up was not documented in 120 (54.5%). Those lost to follow-up did not differ significantly by gender, age at symptom onset, or distance from hospital compared to those with follow-up. Esophageal biopsies were obtained in 158 (71.8%), and those with ≥15 eos/HPF were more likely to be lost to follow-up than those with <15 eos/HPF (52.8% vs. 34.8%, P < 0.05). Of those never biopsied, 79.0% were lost to follow-up and had intermediate proportions of males, food allergy, and asthma when compared to those with and without eosinophilic inflammation. Patients with food impaction commonly have EoE but are often lost to follow-up. Among those never biopsied, demographic and clinical features suggest that many may have undiagnosed EoE. Strategies for increasing use of biopsies in patients with food impaction and improving follow-up are needed to diagnose and manage EoE.
Keywords: biopsy; diagnosis; dysphagia; emergency; follow-up; impaction.
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