Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a common allergic disorder of the esophagus.
Eosinophils are white blood cells that are involved with the immune system and allergic conditions. They circulate in the bloodstream, but patients with EoE will have an abnormal number of eosinophils in their esophagus. Certain foods trigger an immune system reaction that leads to esophageal swelling and, if left untreated, scarring of the esophagus.
Presenting symptoms can vary from person to person. Infants and younger children may present with vomiting, poor weight gain, or food refusal. Older children, teenagers, and adults typically have difficulty swallowing due to esophageal swelling that can lead to food impaction. Patients with EoE may take longer than others to eat because they thoroughly chew their food and have to take frequent sips of their beverage to help food clear the esophagus. Bread and meats tend to be the most difficult foods to swallow. Because each individual’s experience of eating is unique to them, many people with these symptoms are unaware that they are abnormal.
EoE is diagnosed by examining the number of eosinophils through tissue biopsies using upper endoscopy. There is currently no cure for EoE, but, when adequately treated with safe and effective medications and/or dietary changes, most people live a normal life and return to their usual activities.