Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases in Children: A Practical Review

Curr Pediatr Rev. 2020;16(2):106-114. doi: 10.2174/1573396315666191022154432.


Primary eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs) represent a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by eosinophilic inflammation in the absence of known causes for eosinophilia, selectively affecting different segments of the gastrointestinal tract. While pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a well-defined disease with established guidelines, Eosinophilic Gastritis (EoG), Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (EoGE) and Eosinophilic Colitis (EoC) remain a clinical enigma with evidence based on limited anecdotal case reports. Large cross-sectional studies in the US defined a prevalence of EoG and EoGE ranging from 1,5 to 6,4/100.000 and from 2,7 to 8,3/100.000 subjects respectively, while the prevalence of EoC ranges from 1,7 to 3,5/100.000 subjects. Regarding the pathogenesis, it is hypothesized that EGIDs result from the interplay between genetic predisposition, intestinal dysbiosis and environmental triggers. Clinically, EGIDs might present with different and nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms depending on the involved intestinal tract and the extension of eosinophilic inflammatory infiltrate. The diagnosis of EGIDs requires: 1. recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms, 2. increased eosinophils for high power field in biopsy specimens, 3. absence of secondary causes of gastrointestinal eosinophilia. No validated guidelines are available on the clinical management of patients with EGIDs. Evidence from case reports and small uncontrolled case series suggests the use of dietary and corticosteroids as the first-line treatments. Considering the clinical follow-up of EGIDs, three different patterns of disease course are identified: single flare, recurring course-disease and chronic course-disease. This review will focus on pediatric EGIDs distal to esophagus, including Eosinophilic Gastritis (EoG), Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (EoGE) and Eosinophilic Colitis (EoC).

Keywords: Eosinophils; corticosteroids; diet; endoscopy; eosinophilic colitis; eosinophilic gastroenteritis; eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases; food allergy..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disease Progression
  • Enteritis* / diagnosis
  • Enteritis* / immunology
  • Enteritis* / physiopathology
  • Enteritis* / therapy
  • Eosinophilia* / diagnosis
  • Eosinophilia* / immunology
  • Eosinophilia* / physiopathology
  • Eosinophilia* / therapy
  • Gastritis* / diagnosis
  • Gastritis* / immunology
  • Gastritis* / physiopathology
  • Gastritis* / therapy
  • Humans

Supplementary concepts

  • Eosinophilic enteropathy