Eosinophilic esophagitis: clinical expression at pediatric age.

Ana Luísa Rodrigues, Ana Maria Palha, Ana Isabel Lopes

Abstract


Eosinophilic esophagitis is an emerging chronic oesophageal inflammatory disease, increasingly recognized both in children and in adults. It is presently accepted that this entity has a chronic course with persistent or relapsing symptoms and a wide range of clinical manifestations at different age groups: in children it is responsible for feeding disorders, vomiting or abdominal pain; in teenagers and adults it causes dysphagia and oesophageal food impaction. The etiopathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis has not been yet well established, but immuno-allergic mechanisms associated with a Th2 immune response have been proposed. Diagnosis is based both on clinical and histological grounds, requiring that oesophageal mucosal biopsy specimens obtained from different oesophageal locations contain more than 15 intraepithelial eosinophils per high power field and the exclusion of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Currently proposed effective treatments rely on eviction of putative allergens through dietary exclusion and on treatment with swallowed steroids. We describe two cases (a young child and a teenager) illustrative of the clinical spectrum and course variability of eosinophilic esophagitis at pediatric age. A brief review of current knowledge concerning this puzzling clinical entity is presented, emphasizing specific diagnostic dilemmas and questions concerning its long-term follow-up.

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