New Long-Term Study on Eosinophilic Esophagitis

We’re always keeping our eyes peeled and our ears tuned for news and research on eosinophilic esophagitis (also known as EoE). This matters to us because many children with EoE  use Neocate as part of their elimination diet to help manage EoE.

The Study

Dr. Charles DeBrosse and Dr. James Franciosi are part of a team at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). The CCHMC has a Center for Eosinophilic Disorders. The team published a new research study about the long-term effects of EoE.  If you’re interested in reading the study here are links to the publicly available study abstract as well as a great summary on the CCHMC website.

The Results

The research team looked at over 100 patients with esophagitis; some had EoE, while others had chronic esophagitis. They compared them to patients who had no esophagitis. On average, this was about 15 years after the patients developed esophagitis. EoE research was in its early stages back then, and many patients took a long time getting an EoE diagnosis or got a misdiagnosis.

The participants answered questions about their symptoms and quality of life. The researchers then compared the results of each of the groups to see what differences really stood out. Patients with EoE reported a lower quality of life and experienced more trouble swallowing and had food become stuck in their esophagus more often.

Those patients with higher eosinophil counts in childhood had more trouble swallowing as adults. Also, patients with a diagnosed food allergy were more likely to have trouble swallowing and to have food become stuck in their esophagus.

The Bottom Line

The researchers concluded EoE “is associated with reduced quality of life and persistent symptoms 15 years after presentation.” They also noted that both increased eosinophil counts and the presence of food allergy in childhood increase the rate of trouble swallowing in young adulthood. It’s what many of us expected: there is a strong link between food allergies and symptoms among patients with EoE. Not only that, but high eosinophil levels over time can have a lasting impact.

What Can We Take Away from This?

While the results and conclusion don’t sound great at first, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, teams have conducted a HUGE amount of research on EoE since the 1990s, and we’ve learned a lot! Patients who had EoE in the early 2000s had a much different experience than patients with EoE today have. For instance, many more of today’s healthcare teams know about EoE, and can recognize, diagnose, and treat it. Alos, we’re much better at diagnosing and managing EoE in that time.

There are also options for managing EoE that are now in wide use. For instance, elimination diets and elemental diets have come a long way. Elemental, or amino acid-based, diets can be especially helpful in getting EoE under control and are can be a key part of managing EoE. Getting EoE under control can help improve trouble swallowing along with other difficult symptoms, which can mean better outcomes. Elemental diets can provide key nutrients to fill nutritional gaps, which are a real problem when you limit multiple foods.

Children on elemental diets have lots of options these days in the Neocate family of products. We have Neocate Splash, which not only comes in multiple flavors, but is also in drink box form, so it’s just as ready-to-go as your child! We also have Neocate Junior, which is available in several flavors. And for children who miss solid textures on an elemental diet, Neocate Nutra can provide welcome variety, especially prepared in one of our recipes.

What did you learn from this EoE research?

– Rob McCandlish, RDN

[Photo: Microsoft Images]

Last updated March 2018

Published: 10/06/2011
Rob McCandlish
So sorry to hear your son had a reaction to the anesthesia, Adria! We can't provide medical advice, but you should absolutely talk with his team, especially the pediatric gastroenterologist. They should be able to share the experience of other patients. The conventional wisdom with EoE is that it's important to get the eosinophils under control, but care is best when it's individualized. Hang in there!
Adria Orue
My 9-year-old has severe EoE with a high level of eosinophils but not one symptom, nothing. Do you have any research about patients without symptoms? I need to decide if I have to do his 10th endoscopy because during his last 3 he had a reaction to anesthesia.
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