Prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal factors are associated with pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis

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Multiple lines of evidence point to the potential importance of early-life environmental factors in the rapid increase in the incidence of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), but potential exposures have not been extensively studied.


We sought to assess the association between prenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal factors and the development of pediatric EoE using a case-control study.


Patients with EoE were recruited from an existing registry at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Population-based community control subjects were identified from a separate CCHMC registry. Mothers of study subjects were contacted and completed a Web-based questionnaire. Crude and adjusted models were used to estimate associations.


Mothers of 127 cases and 121 control subjects were included. We observed a positive association between several early-life factors and EoE, including prenatal (maternal fever: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.18; 95% CI, 1.27-7.98; preterm labor: aOR, 2.18; 95% CI, 1.06-4.48), intrapartum (cesarean delivery: aOR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.01, 3.09), and infancy (antibiotic use: aOR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.21-4.38; use of an acid suppressant: aOR, 6.05; 95% CI, 2.55-14.40) factors. We observed an inverse association between having a furry pet in infancy and EoE (aOR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.34-0.97). No associations were observed for breast-feeding or maternal multivitamin or folic acid supplement use.


Early-life factors, including maternal fever, preterm labor, cesarean delivery, and antibiotic or acid suppressant use in infancy, were associated with risk of pediatric EoE; having a pet in the home was protective. These results add to growing evidence that implicate early-life exposures in EoE pathogenesis.

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