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Gastrointest Endosc. 2003 Oct;58(4):516-22.

Clinical and endoscopic features of eosinophilic esophagitis in adults.

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Department of Gastroenterology, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Australia.



Eosinophilic esophagitis in adults is regarded as unusual, being diagnosed mostly in young men presenting with dysphagia. Mucosal furrows are a sentinel endoscopic feature. This study examined the demographic and clinical profile of adults with eosinophilic esophagitis seen from 1981 to 2002.


All patients from an Australian provincial city (population 198,000) with otherwise unexplained eosinophilic inflammation of the squamous epithelium (>/=30 eosinophils per high-power field) were included in a retrospective review.


A diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis was made in 31 patients (24 men, 7 women; mean age 34 years, range 14-77 years). The diagnosis was made in 19 (61%) of the 31 patients during the most recent 2 years (none between 1981 and 1994 vs. 12 between 1995-2000 vs. 19 between 2000-2001). Esophageal mucosal furrows were present in 30 (97%), a finding infrequently recognized before 2001. Dysphagia was documented in 26 (89%). Symptoms had been present for long periods before diagnosis (mean 54 months; range 0-180 months), and diagnosis was delayed in 7 (mean 81 months, range 20-144 months) because sentinel features were overlooked at endoscopy. Strictures, often evident only as a result of mucosal shearing during dilation, were present in 17 (57%). Esophageal dilation preformed in 17 (mean 3.4 dilations per patient, range 1-13) consistently relieved symptoms; tears were recorded in 13 (87%), but no serious complication resulted.


Eosinophilic esophagitis in adults of all ages is more common than recognized. Mucosal furrows are easily overlooked at endoscopy although this finding is an important clue to diagnosis. Strictures, a frequent consequence, can be safely managed by dilation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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