Patient characteristics, clinical, endoscopic, and histologic findings in adult eosinophilic esophagitis: a case series and systematic review of the medical literature


  • Presented at the 10th World Congress of the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus, Adelaide, Australia, February 22–25, 2006.

    ©2006 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Address correspondence to: Virender K. Sharma, MD, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, 13400 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA. Email:


SUMMARY.  The objective of our study is to describe patient characteristics, clinical, endoscopic, and pathologic features and management of adult eosinophilic esophagitis (EE). A retrospective review of adults with EE (20 or more eosinophils per high-power field) diagnosed between 1997 and 2006, and a systematic review of the medical literature was performed. Forty-two patients (31 male; 11 female) had EE. Mean (SD) age at diagnosis was 44 (15.8) years, with highest prevalence (48%) at age 20–39. Predominant symptoms were dysphagia (81%); median duration, 8 years; range, 1–30 years and food impaction (55%). Forty-three percent had allergy or atopy, 36% had asthma, 54% had peripheral eosinophilia, and 10% had a first-degree relative with dysphagia. Endoscopic findings included ringed esophagus (55%), linear furrows (33%), narrow esophagus (10%), normal esophagus (7%), and esophageal strictures (38%). Mean number of dilations was 2 (range, 1–5). There were no perforations, but superficial mucosal tears occurred in 31% of dilations. Nine patients were treated with topical fluticasone with clinical improvement in all four (100%) patients who were seen in follow-up. Pathologic findings included 20 or more eosinophils per high-power field from proximal or mid-esophageal biopsy specimens. A systematic review of 14 studies (11 manuscripts, 2 abstracts, and this case series) with 212 patients showed similar findings. EE should be suspected in young men with unexplained dysphagia or food impaction even in the absence of typical endoscopic findings of rings or corrugations, linear furrows, and narrow esophagus; diagnosis is confirmed by 20 or more eosinophils per high-power field on proximal or mid-esophageal biopsies; EE is associated with allergic or atopic disorders; topical steroids are effective in the management of EE; dilation of esophageal strictures is reasonably safe in EE.