Eosinophilic colitis in children: a new and elusive enemy?

Alessandro Raffaele, Fabrizio Vatta, Martina Votto, Amelia Licari, Maria Ruffoli, Marco Brunero, Gianluigi Marseglia, Giovanna Riccipetitoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders are rare in children and present with a broad spectrum of non-specific symptoms. To date, no guidelines for diagnosis, therapy and follow-up are validated. Aim of our study is to focus on eosinophilic colitis (EC), to determine a possible correlation between associated disorders, macroscopic findings and treatment/follow up. Methods: Retrospective study from 2015 to 2019 including all colonoscopies performed at our Institution. Eosinophilic colitis was defined according to the threshold identified by Collins: > 100 Eo/Hpf: right colon, > 84 Eo/Hpf transverse and left colon, > 64 Eo/Hpf sigma and rectum. We excluded colonoscopy in patients with IBD or other diseases causing hypereosinophilia (i.e., parasite infection, GVHD). Results: Among 399 colonoscopies performed in 355 patients, we made 50 diagnosis of EC, 36 males, 14 females, median age 8.5 (3–17). Symptoms leading to endoscopy were recurrent abdominal pain (66%), chronic diarrhea (64%), and chronic constipation (8%). Two patients presented with GI bleeding and one with weight loss. Macroscopic findings were mostly normal or lymphoid nodular hypertrophy presenting different endoscopic features. In seven children (14%) we found history of allergy and atopy. 22 children present a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) with a prevalence higher than in the overall population (44% vs 28.5%, p = 0.03). According to symptoms, treatment consist variably of steroids, six food elimination diet, mesalamine. For patients with available follow-up, we found histological persistence of Eosinophils in 75%, even in patients with symptoms relief. Conclusion: This study focus attention on EC as a new challenging pathology. Multicentric randomized clinical trials are needed to understand physiopathological mechanisms to validate a possible endoscopic score and related histological threshold, and to standardize therapy according to clinical features and instrumental findings. The high prevalence of EC in ASD need further specific research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Autism
  • Children
  • Endoscopy
  • Eosinophilic colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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