Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disease with a high prevalence in younger, atopic males. In our clinical practice, we observed a striking preponderance of patients having a high educational background. The purposes of this study were first to assess the level of education of eosinophilic esophagitis patients and second to compare the findings to patients with inflammatory bowel disease, another chronic immune-mediated condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and with the Swiss general population.
Using a questionnaire, we assessed the educational level of adult patients who have attended Swiss Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinics in the past. In addition, the educational level of the parents was assessed as well. We calculated the proportions of patients and parents who have obtained a higher educational level. Data from the Swiss Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort Study and from the Swiss general population served as confirmation and as comparison, respectively.
A total of 277 successfully contacted patients (response rate 69.1%; mean age 51.1 years, 73% male) participated. A significantly higher proportion of surveyed eosinophilic esophagitis patients had a high International Standard Classification of Education level (66.8%, P < 0.001) compared with inflammatory bowel disease patients (n = 2534; 34.2%, P < 0.001) and to the Swiss general population (n = 6,066,907; 30.5% P < 0.001).
Our analysis confirms the clinical observation that eosinophilic esophagitis patients have a significantly higher educational level compared with the general population and to patients with other chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. As a limitation, this impressive finding remains on a purely descriptive level.