Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE)

What is Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)?

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a condition caused by inflammation of the esophagus, or swallowing tube, from your mouth to stomach. The inflammation is caused by the accumulation of white blood cells, called eosinophils, in the esophageal tissue. EoE is often caused by allergies. It is a condition that is becoming more common in children.

What Are the Symptoms of EOE?

Symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Feeding difficulty in young children
  • Failure to thrive, when a child is not gaining weight appropriately, in young children
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia
  • Food impaction, when food is stuck in the esophagus

What Are the Treatment and Management Options for EOE?

EoE is often a chronic or recurrent disease. Treatment options are different depending on the child’s symptoms and specific allergies. In some cases, medication may be used to relieve symptoms and then stopped if no longer necessary. Other treatment options, such as specific food avoidance, may be lifelong changes in order to manage EoE. Sometimes endoscopies are recommended to determine whether a treatment options has worked.

Current treatments include: 

  • Medications
  • Specific dietary avoidance – avoiding certain foods that are positive by allergy testing 
  • “Six-food” elimination diet – removing all of the most commonly allergenic food groups (milk, wheat, egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts, and seafood) and then slowly bringing foods back in to the diet to determine which foods may be triggering EoE
  • Complete elimination diet – a formula only diet 

What Research Is Being Done on EOE?

Nationwide Children’s is taking a closer look at causes and therapies of allergic inflammatory conditions of the esophagus. Elizabeth Erwin, MD, researches and practices in the area of allergy and immunology with a focus on understanding allergies in patients with EoE. Dr. Erwin has published on the topic of eosinophilic esophagitis and brings her expertise, along with that of pediatric gastroenterologist John Russo, MD, to services provided within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

The EoE Clinic coordinates care for children and adolescents by pediatric specialists within Gastroenterology and Allergy/Immunology. In addition, patients can participate in ongoing research studies to improve evaluation and treatment of EoE.