Dietary elimination therapy is an effective option for adults with eosinophilic esophagitis

W. Asher Wolf, Maya R. Jerath, Sarah L.W. Sperry, Nicholas J. Shaheen, Evan S. Dellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an immune-mediated disorder. Food elimination is an established treatment for children, but data in adults are limited. We aimed to determine the response of adults with EoE to dietary therapy. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using the University of North Carolina EoE database from 2006 to 2012. Subjects were age 18 and older, had EoE by consensus guidelines, and had undergone dietary therapy either with a targeted elimination diet or a 6-food elimination diet (SFED). Outcomes were symptomatic, endoscopic, and histologic improvement. Demographic, endoscopic, symptomatic, and laboratory predictors of response to dietary therapy were assessed. Results: Of 31 adults who underwent dietary therapy (mean age, 36 y; 48% male; 90% white; mean baseline eosinophil count, 78 eos/hpf), 22 had a targeted elimination diet and 9 had SFED. Symptoms improved in 71% (68% in targeted, 78% in SFED), and endoscopic appearance improved in 54% (53% in targeted, 56% in SFED). After dietary therapy, the mean eosinophil count decreased to 43 eos/hpf (P= .009). Eleven subjects (39%) responded with fewer than 15eos/hpf (32% in targeted and 56% in SFED; P= .41). No clinical, endoscopic, or histologic factors predicted response to dietary therapy. Of the 11 responders, 9 underwent food re-introduction to identify trigger(s), and 4 (44%) reacted to dairy, 4 (44%) reacted to eggs, 2 (22%) reacted to wheat, 1 (11%) reacted to shellfish, 1 (11%) reacted to legumes, and 1 (11%) reacted to nuts. Conclusions: Dietary elimination is a successful treatment modality for adults with EoE. Further research should emphasize which factors can predict effective dietary therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1279
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • 6-Food elimination diet
  • Dietary therapy
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Targeted elimination diet


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