Etiology of esophageal food impactions in children

Christine Waasdorp Hurtado, Glenn T Furuta, Robert E Kramer
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2011, 52 (1): 43-6

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to measure clinicopathological features of children presenting to a tertiary care emergency department with esophageal food impaction.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective chart review of children with esophageal food impaction seen between January 1, 2005 and June 30, 2009, including all patients from age 1 month to 18 years with esophageal food impaction at a pediatric emergency department, was performed.

RESULTS: Initial screening of International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, discharge diagnosis identified 698 children with an esophageal foreign body. Of this group, 72 esophageal food impaction events were identified in 65 children (69% boys), 49 of whom required endoscopic intervention. Endoscopic appearances of the esophageal mucosa were abnormal in 40 (82%), revealing evidence of esophagitis (55%) or stricture (27%). Twenty-four of the subjects had biopsies taken at the time of endoscopy. Inflammation, described as increased eosinophils, basilar hyperplasia, rete peg elongation, and/or microabscess, was present in 76% of mucosal samples. Follow-up endoscopy in 12 children identified an etiology in 9, five of whom were found to have eosinophilic esophagitis.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of children with esophageal food impaction who underwent endoscopic evaluation and biopsy have an underlying potentially treatable cause. We therefore recommend that all of the children with esophageal food impaction have mucosal biopsies at the time of endoscopic disimpaction with appropriate follow-up to allow for diagnosis and management of the underlying etiology.

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