JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dichotomy of food and inhalant allergen sensitization in eosinophilic esophagitis

K K N Sugnanam, J T Collins, P K Smith, F Connor, P Lewindon, G Cleghorn, G Withers
Allergy 2007, 62 (11): 1257-60
17711545

BACKGROUND: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is an emerging condition where patients commonly present with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease and fail to respond adequately to anti-reflux therapy. Food allergy is currently recognized as the main immunological cause of EE; recent evidence suggests an etiological role for inhalant allergens. The presence of EE appears to be associated with other atopic illnesses.

OBJECTIVES: To report the sensitization profile of both food and inhalant allergens in our EE patient cohort in relation to age, and to profile the prevalence of other allergic conditions in patients with EE.

METHOD: The study prospectively analyzed allergen sensitization profiles using skin prick tests to common food allergens and inhalant allergens in 45 children with EE. Patch testing to common food allergens was performed on 33 patients in the same cohort. Comorbidity of atopic eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis and anaphylaxis were obtained from patient history.

RESULTS: Younger patients with EE showed more IgE and patch sensitization to foods while older patients showed greater IgE sensitization to inhalant allergens. The prevalence of atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma was significantly increased in our EE cohort compared with the general Australian population. A total of 24% of our cohort of patients with EE had a history of anaphylaxis.

CONCLUSION: In children with EE, the sensitization to inhalant allergens increases with age, particularly after 4 years. Also, specific enquiry about severe food reactions in patients presenting with EE is strongly recommended as it appears this patient group has a high incidence of anaphylaxis.

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