Time to Diagnosis in Eosinophilic Esophagitis

According to a recent retrospective study (CC Reed et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1667-9) the time to diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) has NOT improved  between 2000 and 2014.  In this single tertiary-care center study with 677 cases, the predicted length of symptoms prior to diagnosis was the following:

  • 2000-2006: 6.1 years
  • 2007-2011: 7.2 years
  • 2011-2014: 7.2 years

While in the pediatric cohort the trend was the same, the length of symptoms preceding diagnosis was shorter: 2.8 years, 3.5 years and 3.7 years respectively for the above-mentioned time periods.

My take: In GI circles, EoE is quickly considered for a variety of clinical presentations.  This study suggests that

  • #1 for families and primary care doctors that many are unaware of this entity
  • #2 the symptoms of EoE are often insidious

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Updated Consensus Guidelines for Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Full text: ES Dellon, CA Liacouras,  J Molina-Infante, GT Furuta et al. Gastroenterol 2018; 155: 1022-33.

This article provides a thorough review of EoE -including clinical features, differential diagnosis, diagnostic criteria, and treatments.

Key point: “The evidence suggests that PPIs are better classified as a treatment for esophageal eosinophilia that may be due to EoE than as a diagnostic criterion, and we have developed updated consensus criteria for EoE that reflect this change.”

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What to Do About Bile Reflux Gastritis?

A recent review (ME McCabe, CK Dilly. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1389-92) provides useful information on bile reflux gastritis.

The authors note that bile reflux gastritis is “increasingly found in individuals without prior gastric surgery, a problem termed ‘primary biliary reflux.'”

Key points:

  • Most often bile reflux gastritis occurs due to prior surgery affecting pylorus, dysmotility, after cholecystectomy (due to loss of bile reservoir), and after biliary sphincterotomy (due to increased biliary flow).
  • Suggested treatments (Figure 5) -are limited by lack of evidence but the following are recommended by the authors: remove offending medications (eg. agents that affect peristalsis) –>proton pump inhibitors –>ursodeoxycholic acid –>sucralfate –>combination therapy –>surgical diversion of bile (generally reserved in those with surgically-induced bile reflux)

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: How important is the BMI of the stool donor?

Currently fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) “best practices” exclude obese stool donors based on a report of germ-free mice gaining weight after FMT from mice with obesity and based on a case report of an individual with 34 pound weight gain after FMT.

A recent report (M Fischer et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1351-3) suggests that the the BMI of the stool donor does not affect recipient weight after a single FMT procedure for C difficile infection.

This analysis included 173 patients with a mean age of 57 years.  One group of 103 were from a randomized control trial; in this group, 66 (64%) received FMT from a normal weight (BMI 18-24.9) donor and 37 (36%) received FMT from an overweight (BMI 25-29.9) donor. Among an additional 70 individuals from an observational cohort, 25 received FMT from normal weight donor, 30 received FMT from overweight donor, and 15 received FMT from an obese donor.

Key finding:

  • There was no significant difference in BMI among the FMT recipients up to 48 weeks after a single FMT.  Based on data from Figure 1, patients who received FMT from normal weight donor had slightly higher mean weight gain at 48 weeks afterwards (not statistically-significant)

The authors caution that a prospective study is required to confirm these findings and in the interim, they recommend exclusion of obese/overweight FMT donors.

My take: There are plenty of willing stool donors –so who knows if this will ever be examined adequately.  This study challenges the idea that FMT from an obese donor will result in recipient obesity, presumably via changes in the microbiome.

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Exclusive Enteral Nutrition for Crohn’s Disease -Less Effective in Those with Isolated Colonic Disease

A recent study (Y Xu. Clinical Nutrition 2018; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2018.08.022) showed that exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is less effective in patient’s with Crohn’s disease with isolated colonic disease.

Abstract Link: Isolated Colonic Crohn’s Disease is Associated with a Reduced Response to Exclusive Enteral Nutrition Compared to Ileal or Ileocolonic Disease

This was a retrospective study of 241 adults: 52 patients in the cCD (isolated colonic disease) group and 189 patients in the non-cCD group.

Key findings:

  • “The rates of clinical remission differed between the two groups (cCD group: 51.9% versus non-cCD group: 68.3%, P = 0.029). Multivariate analyses indicated that isolated colonic involvement was associated with a reduced response to EEN (OR = 2.74; [CI] 95% = [1.2 –6.23], P = 0.016).”
  • “Further analysis showed that even in patients who achieved clinical remission after EEN, inflammatory serum markers declined more slowly in the cCD group than in the non-cCD group, and the time to remission was longer in the cCD group.”

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“If this was celiac, why didn’t it stop when she cut out gluten?”

Here’s a link to a well-described case report. Her Searing Gut Pain Suggested Celiac Disease. Why Didn’t Cutting Out Gluten Help?

This 57 year old with ‘presumptive’ celiac disease did not improve with a gluten-free diet.  After an initial self-diagnosis and subsequently an endoscopy that also suggested celiac disease, she did not improve.  While the doctors involved in her care had labeled her ‘noncompliant,’ it turns out she did NOT have celiac disease and improved after the right diagnosis (diagnosis noted at bottom of this post).

My take: There are several entities that can mimic celiac disease (even histologically), including Crohn’s disease, Autoimmune enteropathy, CTLA4 deficiency, and Whipple’s disease (the diagnosis in this case).  When someone is not getting better, the diagnosis needs to be reconsidered.

Expert Advice on Bloating

A recent article (AK Kamboj, AS Oxentenko. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16; 1030-33) provides some useful guidance on bloating.

They describe bloating as an acronym:

  • Bowel disturbance (constipation, SIBO, celiac, IBD)
  • Liquid (ascites)
  • Obstruction
  • Adiposity
  • Thoracic (overexpansion, diaphragm contraction)
  • Increased sensitivity (functional bloating, IBS, dyspepsia)
  • Neuromuscular (gastroparesis, impaired accommodation, medications)
  • Gas (aerophagia, dietary sources, post-Nissen)

The diagnostic approach they recommend:

  • If bloating with diarrhea, evaluate diet, SIBO, celiac, IBD, IBS-D, and medications
  • If bloating with constipation, evaluate for constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, IBS-C, and medications
  • If bloating and suspected mechanical disturbance, evaluate for gastric outlet obstruction/small bowel obstruction
  • If bloating without bowel disturbance, consider aerophagia, gastroparesis, and functional dyspepsia


  • Treat any underlying disorder
  • For mild symptoms, reassurance may be sufficient
  • Dietary modifications to avoid food triggers & reduce fermentable food products
  • Treating constipation when present
  • A large number of other treatments can be considered as well including antispasmotics, agents to help with visceral hyperalgesia, cognitive behavioral therapy

My take: I like BLOATING acronym, though the 5 Fs I learned a long time ago is a little easier for me to remember — which include flatus (gas), feces (constipation), fluid, fat, and fetus/masses. Flatus can be caused by swallowing air (aerophagia), malabsorption (celiac, lactose intolerance, parasites), muscular discoordination (abdominal phrenic dyssynergia), and motility problems.”

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