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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jun;129(6):1570-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.03.023. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Comparative dietary therapy effectiveness in remission of pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.



Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory disorder that responds to dietary therapy; however, data evaluating the effectiveness of dietary therapeutic strategies are limited.


This study compared the effectiveness of 3 frequently prescribed dietary therapies (elemental, 6-food elimination, and skin prick and atopy patch-directed elimination diets) and assessed the remission predictability of skin tests and their utility in directing dietary planning.


A retrospective cohort of proton-pump inhibitor-unresponsive, non-glucocorticoid-treated patients with eosinophilic esophagitis who had 2 consecutive endoscopic biopsy specimens associated with dietary intervention was identified. Biopsy histology and remissions (<15 eosinophils/high-power field) after dietary therapy and food reintroductions were evaluated.


Ninety-eight of 513 patients met the eligibility criteria. Of these 98 patients, 50% (n= 49), 27% (n= 26), and 23% (n= 23) received elemental, 6-food elimination, and directed diets, respectively. Remission occurred in 96%, 81%, and 65% of patients on elemental, 6-food elimination, and directed diets, respectively. The odds of postdiet remission versus nonremission were 5.6-fold higher (P= .05) on elemental versus 6-food elimination diets and 12.5-fold higher (P= .003) on elemental versus directed diets and were not significantly different (P= .22) on 6-food elimination versus directed diets. After 116 single-food reintroductions, the negative predictive value of skin testing for remission was 40% to 67% (milk, 40%; egg, 56%; soy, 64%; and wheat, 67%).


All 3 dietary therapies are effective; however, an elemental diet is superior at inducing histologic remission compared with 6-food elimination and skin test-directed diets. Notably, an empiric 6-food elimination diet is as effective as a skin test-directed diet. The negative predictive values of foods most commonly reintroduced in single-food challenges are not sufficient to support the development of dietary advancement plans solely based on skin test results.

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