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Keywords:

  • allergy;
  • dysphagia;
  • eosinophilia;
  • eosinophilic esophagitis;
  • epidemiology

Abstract

Background  Recent literature has shown increasing incidence and prevalence rates of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). However, data are mainly based on small studies and come from centers dedicated to EoE. Aim of this study was to estimate the incidence rates of EoE by using a large database.

Methods  We performed a cross-sectional study of the pathology reports describing esophageal eosinophilia from 1996 through 2010, using the nationwide network and registry of histo- and cytopathology in The Netherlands (PALGA). All histopathology reports nationwide enter this database. We classified cases according to the diagnosis made by the pathologist. Annual incidence rates of EoE were estimated.

Key Results  Our search criteria yielded 8838 positive pathology reports. Eosinophilic esophagitis was diagnosed in 674 patients, of which 74% were men. In another 174 patients, no distinction was made between eosinophilia caused by gastro-esophageal reflux disease or EoE. The incidence of EoE increased considerably over the years, being 0.01 in 1996, 0.01 in 2000, 0.14 in 2005, and 1.31 per 100 000 persons in 2010. Eosinophilic esophagitis was diagnosed in all age groups, but in 2010 the highest incidence was seen in 20–29 years old males, in whom it was estimated to be 3.23 per 100 000 persons. The incidence in children was 0.73 per 100 000 in 2010. No seasonal variation in diagnosis of EoE was observed.

Conclusions & Inferences  In this large study, we found robust data on increasing incidence rates of pediatric and adult EoE in the past 15 years. This rapidly increasing incidence has not reached a plateau yet.