Esophageal dilation in eosinophilic esophagitis: risks, benefits, and when to do it

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Abstract

Purpose of review

For patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), endoscopic dilation has been used primarily to provide immediate symptomatic relief of dysphagia. This report reviews the current position of esophageal dilation in the therapeutic algorithm for EoE, including effectiveness and safety issues.

Recent findings

Esophageal strictures in EoE develop as a consequence of long-lasting esophageal eosinophilia, with patient age and diagnostic delay as well established risk factors. Endoscopic dilation leads to immediate symptomatic improvement in 95% of EoE patients who have strictures or narrow caliber esophagus. As dilation has no effect on the underlying eosinophil inflammation, repeated procedures are usually needed to maintain symptoms in remission. Adding an effective drug or dietary-based EoE therapy reduces the need of further dilation. The high rate of severe complications from dilation reported in early literature has not been reproduced in most recent series, with mild postprocedural chest pain as the most common side effect. Current data suggest that the risk of esophageal perforation is less than 1%. Mucosal tears after dilation should no longer be considered a complication, but rather a marker of procedural success.

Summary

Esophageal dilation should be considered in EoE patients with esophageal strictures or narrow caliber esophagus who have persistent dysphagia/food impaction despite an effective anti-inflammatory treatment.

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