Long-Lasting Dissociation of Esophageal Eosinophilia and Symptoms After Dilation in Adults With Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Apr;20(4):766-775.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2021.05.049. Epub 2021 May 29.


Background & aims: Esophageal dilation improves dysphagia but not inflammation in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) patients. We investigated if dilation modifies the association between symptoms and peak esophageal eosinophils per high-power field (eos/hpf).

Methods: Adults enrolled in a multisite prospective Consortium of Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Disease Researchers Outcome Measures for Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Across Ages observational study (NCT02523118) completed the symptom-based EoE activity index (EEsAI) patient-reported outcome instrument and underwent endoscopy with biopsy specimens. Patients were stratified based on dilation status as absent, performed 1 year or less before endoscopy, and performed more than 1 year before endoscopy. Assessments included Spearman correlations of the relationship between symptoms and eos/hpf and linear regression with EEsAI as the outcome, eos/hpf as predictor, and interaction for dilation and eos/hpf.

Results: Among 100 patients (n = 61 males; median age, 37 y), 15 and 40 patients underwent dilation 1 year or less and more than 1 year before index endoscopy, respectively. In nondilated patients, the association between eos/hpf and symptoms was moderate (ρ = 0.49; P < .001); for a 10-eos/hpf increase, the predicted EEsAI increased by 2.69 (P = .002). In patients dilated 1 or less and more than 1 year before index endoscopy, this association was abolished (ρ = -0.38; P = .157 for ≤1 y and ρ = 0.02; P = .883 >1 y); for a 10-eos/hpf increase, the predicted EEsAI changed by -1.64 (P = .183) and 0.78 (P = .494), respectively. Dilation modified the association between symptoms and eos/hpf (P = .005 and P = .187 for interaction terms of eos/hpf and dilation 1 or less years before and more than 1 year before index endoscopy, respectively).

Conclusions: In nondilated EoE adults, eos/hpf correlate modestly with symptoms; this correlation was no longer appreciated in dilated patients, and the dilation effects lasted longer than 1 year. Dilation status should be considered in studies evaluating EoE treatment and for clinical follow-up evaluation.

Keywords: Dysphagia; Effect Modification; Endoscopic Reference Score; Eosinophilic Esophagitis Histologic Scoring System; Eosinophilic Esophagitis-Specific Quality of Life in Adults; Pain When Swallowing.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dilatation
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02523118