Objectives: The aim of the present study was to conduct a systematic review with meta-analysis on the epidemiology of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) in children.
Methods: Studies investigating incidence and prevalence of EoE in children (≤18 years) were identified in a systematic review of MEDLINE (1950–2011) and Embase (1980–2011). Meta-analyses were performed for incidence and subgroups with ≥5 studies: esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) for any indication, histologic esophageal disease, and celiac disease, and EGD for abdominal pain. We used a random effects model, Q statistic to assess heterogeneity, and joinpoint analysis to assess time trends.
Results: We included 25 studies. The incidence of EoE varied from 0.7 to 10/100,000 per person-year and the prevalence ranged from 0.2 to 43/100,000. The incidence and prevalence increased over time. Prevalence was highest in children with food impaction or dysphagia (63%–88%). The pooled prevalence was 3.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4–5.1) in EGD for any indication, 24% (95% CI 19–28) in histologic esophageal disease, 2.3% (95% CI 1.0–3.6) in celiac disease, and 2.6% (95% CI 1.2–4.1) in EGD for abdominal pain.
Conclusions: During the last 2 decades, the incidence and prevalence of EoE in children have increased significantly; however, the population-based incidence and prevalence of EoE vary widely across geographic variations, potentially because of variations in case of ascertainment between centers. Because EoE is common among children with food impaction and dysphagia, children with this presenting complaint should be rapidly identified at triage for timely endoscopic assessment.