In East Asian countries, there are only a few epidemiologic studies of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and no studies in children. We investigated the incidence and compared the clinical characteristics of EoE and eosinophilic gastroenteritis involving the esophagus (EGEIE) in Korean children.
A total of 910 children, who had symptoms of esophageal dysfunction, from 10 hospitals in Korea were included. EoE was diagnosed according to diagnostic guidelines and EGEIE was diagnosed when there were >15 eosinophils in the esophagus per high power field (HPF) and >20 eosinophils per HPF deposited in the stomach and duodenum with abnormal endoscopic findings.
Of the 910 subjects, 14 (1.5%) were diagnosed with EoE and 12 (1.3%) were diagnosed with EGEIE. Vomiting was the most common symptom in 57.1% and 66.7% of patients with EoE and EGEIE, respectively. Only diarrhea was significantly different between EoE and EGEIE (=0.033). In total, 61.5% of patients had allergic diseases. Exudates were the most common endoscopic findings in EoE and there were no esophageal strictures in both groups. The median age of patients with normal endoscopic findings was significantly younger at 3.2 years, compared to the median age of 11.1 years in those with abnormal endoscopic findings (=0.004).
The incidence of EoE in Korean children was lower than that of Western countries, while the incidence of EGEIE was similar to EoE. There were no clinical differences except for diarrhea and no differences in endoscopic findings between EoE and EGEIE.

Copyright © 2020 by The Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.