Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Review State of the Art Review

Eosinophilic esophagitis: update on management and controversies

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 13 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4482
  1. Joan W Chen, clinical assistant professor,
  2. John Y Kao, associate professor
  1. 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5362, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J W Chen, 3912 Taubman Center, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, SPC 5362, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5362, USA chenjoan{at}


Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic allergen driven immune mediated disease that is increasingly recognized as a leading cause of dysphagia and foregut symptoms in children and adults. Much knowledge has been gained in recent years on the genetic and environmental risk factors for this disease, the associated inflammatory milieu, and the long term complications from esophageal remodeling. In this review we will highlight recent progress made in research into this disease, focusing on adults. We will discuss ongoing efforts to develop a minimally invasive technique that may obviate the need for repeated endoscopic assessment of disease activity. Moreover, we will review studies using novel tools such as mucosal impedance and functional lumen imaging as potential surrogate markers for mucosal integrity and esophageal remodeling. With regard to the treatment of eosinophilic inflammation, we will discuss the controversies surrounding responsiveness to proton pump inhibitors in some patients. Therapeutic trials continue to support the use of topical glucocorticoids and empiric food elimination diets as first line treatments. We will discuss ongoing efforts to optimize the elimination diet protocol to decrease the level and duration of food restrictions. Looking ahead, our growing knowledge on the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis has enabled further advancement of promising targeted biologic therapies.


  • Series explanation: State of the Art Reviews are commissioned on the basis of their relevance to academics and specialists in the US and internationally. For this reason they are written predominantly by US authors

  • Contributors: JWC was responsible for the initial outline, literature search, drafting of the initial and revised manuscript; she is also the guarantor. JYK was responsible for the initial concept and outline of the work and offered critical revisions and final approval of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and declare that we have no competing interests.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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