As one of New York City's top gastroenterologists, Dr. Weiss is skilled in the diagnosis and management of eosinophilic esophagitis, offering the most advanced care options for patients at his practice on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition that occurs when a type of white blood cells called eosinophils being to collect and build up in the esophagus. Once considered a part of gastroesophageal reflux disease, eosinophilic esophagitis has been identified in the past two decades as a disease in its own right which develops as an allergic reaction to foods, allergens or other triggers. During the reaction, proteins are produced which can damage the esophagus and cause it to become inflamed, resulting in the formation of scars and fibrous tissues that can make swallowing difficult.
Symptoms of the condition can include:
impaction of food
centrally-located chest pain that isn't helped by antacids
regurgitation of food
Studies have shown people with the condition are also more likely to have allergies, including environmental allergies, food allergies and asthma, as well as chronic respiratory illness. There may also be a genetic component.
If eosinophilic esophagitis is suspected, you'll need to have an endoscopy to obtain small samples of tissue from your esophagus which can be evaluated in a lab. During an endoscopy, a flexible tube with a camera and light at one end is passed into your esophagus, transmitting images to a monitor. Special instruments will be used to take the biopsies from two locations in your esophagus. You may also have blood tests to look for higher-than-normal levels of eosinophils or other signs of allergic reaction.
Treatment may include dietary food to eliminate foods that cause allergic reactions, medications like acid blockers or steroids to reduce inflammation and promote healing, or dilation if the esophagus has become narrow as a result of the condition. Treatment will need to be ongoing to manage symptoms.