Dilatation for Eosinophilic Esophagitis -Pediatric Data

The most recent data in adults has indicated that dilatation for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) likely does not have increased risk compare to esophageal dilatation for other causes.  A recent pediatric retrospective study (C Menard-Katcher et al. JPGN 2017; 64: 701-6) reaches a similar conclusion.

In this study over a 5-year period, there were 68 dilatations among 40 patients with EoE.

Dilatation was considered complete if a diameter of 15 mm (45 French) was reached or if a deep rent in the mucosa was evident; small (<0.5 cm) shallow rents were “not considered criteria for cessation of dilations.”


  • In their institution, areas of narrowing >5 cm in length were typically treated with Maloney dilators and shorter narrowings were managed with balloon dilators (through the scope).
  • For Maloney bougie dilators, often dilations started at 24 French; typically 30 French if scope could traverse narrowing.
  • For balloon, often dilations started at 10 mm.  Fluoroscopy was often used at initial dilation (12 of 19).
  • 17 of 40 required more than one dilation in the study period

Some of the key findings:

  • Approximately 5% of their EoE patients needed dilations.
  • Patients with EoE who needed dilations were older than EoE patients who did not need this: 13.8 vs 8.2 years
  • Postoperative chest pain was most common adverse event, affecting 15% of dilations. In this small series, there were no perforations.
  • At this institution, half of the patients had dilation at their diagnostic endoscopy before starting EoE-specific therapy. However, as noted in their commentary, medical management may obviate the need for dilations.
  • Medical management consisted of “swallowed steroids (62%), dietary therapy (12%) or both (24%).”

My take: Overall, this study indicates that dilations are fairly safe in the EoE population. That being said, in my view, all dilations carry a small but significant risk.

Related blog posts:

Musee d’Orsay, Naissance de Venus, Alexandre Cabanel, 1863





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