What is eosinophilic esophagitis?

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach), caused by a specific white blood cell (the eosinophil). The number of people affected is about 1 in 10,000 (though health officials think this number is underreported). Nearly three-quarters of cases occur in white males. This is a relatively newly recognized disease that has been increasingly diagnosed in adults and children over the past decade.

What are the symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis?

Patients with eosinophilic esophagitis may have symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and trouble swallowing. Adolescents and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis will complain of having swallowing problems from time to time. Infants and young children may develop feeding disorders, leading to poor weight gain. In a small number of cases, eosinophilic esophagitis leads to the development of an extremely narrowed esophagus. As a result, food may get stuck in the esophagus and may need emergency removal.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/13/2016.

References

  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders Accessed 1/19/2016.
  • American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders. EOE Accessed 1/19/2016.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Upper GI Endoscopy Accessed 1/19/2016.

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