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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 May;16(5):664-671.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2017.12.020. Epub 2017 Dec 14.

Esophageal Mucosal Impedance Patterns Discriminate Patients With Eosinophilic Esophagitis From Patients With GERD.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. Electronic address:



It is a challenge to make a diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) because its symptoms and histologic features overlap with those of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A minimally invasive device was recently developed to detect mucosal impedance (MI) that measures epithelial integrity during upper endoscopy. We aimed to quantify MI along the esophagus and identify patterns that differentiated patients with and without GERD from those with EoE, and determine whether MI values and patterns are sufficient to identify patients with EoE using histologic findings as a reference.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 91 patients with upper gastrointestinal symptoms referred for diagnostic testing for GERD and EoE from 2012 through 2014 (discovery set). During the first endoscopy, MI measurements were obtained at 2, 5, and 10 cm from the squamocolumnar junction. GERD was confirmed by ambulatory pH tests, and histologic analyses of biopsies were used to confirm EoE. We then used statistical modeling to identify MI patterns along the esophagus (at 10 cm, 5 cm, and 2 cm) that associated with GERD vs EoE. We validated our findings in a prospective cohort of 49 patients undergoing elective upper endoscopy for dysphagia, from 2015 through 2016, testing the ability of MI patterns to identify patients with vs. without EoE.


We found patients with EoE to have a unique MI pattern, with low values along the esophageal axis. MI measurements at 5 cm could discern patients with normal vs abnormal mucosa with 83% sensitivity and 79% specificity, and patients with EoE vs GERD with 84% sensitivity and 70% specificity; these measurements differentiated the patient populations with the highest level of accuracy of any of the 6 measurements tested. In the validation study, a rater using the esophageal MI pattern identified patients with EoE with 100% sensitivity and 96% specificity.


We identified and validated a pattern of MI along the esophagus that can identify patients with EoE vs normal mucosa or GERD with high levels of sensitivity.


Diagnostic Testing; Endoscopy; Epithelial Integrity


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