Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory disorder of the esophagus that, in most children and many adults, is triggered by food antigen(s). The goals of treatment in EoE, like for most other chronic disorders, include: 1) resolution of clinical symptoms, 2) maintenance of remission and prevention of disease relapse 3) prevention of complications such as fibrosis and strictures by maintaining histological remission 4) prevention of iatrogenic treatment related adverse reactions such as nutritional deficiencies as in dietary treatment and 5) maintenance of quality of life. Current standard of care for the treatment of EoE include either pharmacologic modality with glucocorticosteroids (oral, or swallowed spray or slurry) or diet. Swallowed steroids are the more commonly utilized form of steroid treatment modality with histological remission rates of 50-80% of subjects. The potential drawbacks of steroid therapy include side effects such as opportunistic infections, potential suppression of the pituitary-adrenal axis with prolonged use and most important disease recurrence once the medication is discontinued. The dietary approach is based on the hypothesis that food antigen(s) trigger eosinophilic inflammation and clinical and histological remission can be induced by identifying and excluding the causative food antigen(s). It is believed that eliminating causative food antigen(s) target the cause and thus induces long term remission. The current recommendation for treatment of EoE with diet are based on a number of retrospective and observational studies. This prospective study eliminating the four most common (cow milk protein, wheat, egg, and soy) antigens, will primarily assess the histological response in a cohort of children and will attempt to validate the findings of the previously published retrospective study. In addition by the process of orderly and sequential reintroduction of the excluded solids we will identify the different foods responsible for causing esophageal inflammation and thus disease. This study will also characterize patient demographics, symptoms and histologic changes associated with the four food elimination (4-FED) process.
Amir F. Kagalwalla, MD