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  • Jefferson Adams

    Patients with Active Celiac Disease At Slightly Higher Risk for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Eosinophils in the peripheral blood of a patient with idiopathic eosinophilia. Image: Wikimedia Commons--Ed Uthman, MD.
    Caption: Eosinophils in the peripheral blood of a patient with idiopathic eosinophilia. Image: Wikimedia Commons--Ed Uthman, MD.

    Celiac.com 09/09/2015 - Some researchers and clinicians suspect a connection between eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and celiac disease, but prior studies have shown conflicting results

    A team of researchers recently set out to determine the relationship between EoE and celiac disease among patients with concomitant esophageal and duodenal biopsies. The research team included Elizabeth T. Jensena, Swathi Eluria, Benjamin Lebwohl, Robert M. Gentab, and Evan S. Dellon.



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    For their cross-sectional study, they team used data covering the period from January 2009 through June 2012 from a U.S. national pathology database.

    They defined esophageal eosinophilia as the presence of ≥15 eosinophils per high-power field. The crude and age and sex adjusted odds of esophageal eosinophilia for patients with active celiac disease were compared with those without celiac disease.

    Sensitivity analyses were performed by using more stringent case definitions and by estimating the associations between celiac disease and reflux esophagitis and celiac disease and Barrett’s esophagus.

    Out of 292,621 patients in the source population, the team looked at data from 88,517 patients with both esophageal and duodenal biopsies. Four thousand one hundred one (4.6%) met criteria for EoE, and 1203 (1.4%) met criteria for celiac disease. Patients with celiac disease had 26% higher odds of EoE than patients without celiac disease (adjusted odds ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98–1.60).

    The strength of the connection varied according to EoE case definition, but all definitions showed a weak positive association between the two conditions.

    Interestingly, this study showed no connection between celiac disease and reflux esophagitis (adjusted odds ratio 0.95; 95% CI, 0.85–1.07) or between celiac disease and Barrett’s esophagus (adjusted odds ratio 0.89; 95% CI, 0.69–1.14).

    Overall, this study showed only a weak increase in EoE in patients with celiac disease. The connection strengthened in direct relation to the strength of definitions of EoE, and was not seen with other esophageal conditions.

    Doctors should consider concomitant EoE in patients with celiac disease where clinical indications support it.

    Disclosures: Dellon reports receiving research funds from Meritage Pharma, consulting for Aptalis, Novartis, Receptos and Regeneron, and receiving an educational grant from Diagnovus.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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