Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an immune-mediated inflammatory condition with tissue eosinophilia resulting in esophageal dysfunction. The six-food elimination diet (SFED) is an EoE treatment approach that removes milk, wheat, soy, eggs, tree nuts/peanuts, and fish/shellfish. After histologic remission, food reintroduction occurs to identify a food trigger. Outcomes from large series of adults undergoing SFED and food reintroduction as clinical care are not known.
A retrospective review (2006–2021) of adult patients with EoE from an academic center was completed. Patients were classified as full responders (<15 eos/hpf) after SFED. If reintroduction was pursued, food triggers identified were recorded.
Two hundred thirteen patients completed SFED. One hundred fifteen patients (54%) had response <15 eos/hpf after SFED. Seventy-seven percent of responders had symptom improvement. Thirty-two percent of initial nonresponders underwent repeat dietary elimination. Fifty-eight percent of patients (n = 123) achieved <15 eos/hpf after either initial or extended SFED. Seventy-eight percent of responders underwent food reintroduction. Sixty-nine percent had 1 food trigger identified, 24% had 2 allergens identified, and 4% had 3 allergens identified. The most common food triggers identified were milk, wheat, and soy.
This study describes the largest cohort reported of adult patients with EoE completing SFED with food reintroduction. The overall SFED histologic response was 54%, which increased to 58% with 1 additional round of dietary therapy, suggesting that 31% may respond in a second attempt. Most patients who completed food reintroduction had a single food trigger identified. Dietary elimination with specific food trigger identification is a feasible alternative to medical therapy for adults with EoE.