Eosinophilic disorders occur when eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, are found in above-normal amounts in various parts of the body.
Overview and Symptoms
Elevated levels of eosinophils can be found in many different parts of the body and result in a number of rare diseases, including:
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE): High levels of eosinophils in the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). Our division treats EoE more often than other eosinophilic disorders because it often occurs simultaneously with allergies and allergic symptoms.
- Eosinophilic Gastritis : High levels of eosinophils in the stomach.
- Eosinophilic Enteritis: High levels of eosinophils in the small intestine.
- Eosinophilic Colitis: High levels of eosinophils in the large intestine (colon).
- Hypereosinophilic Syndrome: High levels of eosinophils in the blood and case-specific organs.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Common Symptoms of EoE:
- Reflux that does not respond to usual therapy (examples include medicines which stop acid production in the stomach)
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Food impactions (food gets stuck in the esophagus)
- Nausea and Vomiting
- In children, failure to thrive (poor growth, malnutrition, or weight loss) and poor appetite
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Feeding refusal/intolerance or poor appetite
The only way to diagnose EoE is through endoscopy with biopsies. During an upper endoscopy, the gastroenterologist looks at the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) through an endoscope (small tube inserted through the mouth) and takes multiple biopsies (small tissue samples) which are reviewed by a pathologist.
Once the diagnosis of EoE is confirmed, a patient is typically referred to an allergist for food allergy testing to help guide treatment. Skin prick testing to different foods is the most common type of allergy testing. There are other medications also used in the treatment of EoE that can be discussed at your visit.