The safety of a strict wire-guided dilation protocol for eosinophilic esophagitis

Shreyas Saligram, Kevin McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, immune/antigen-mediated disease seen in an increasing number of young adults. Solid food dysphagia is the most common presenting symptom, and food impactions are not uncommon because of stricturing and decreased compliance of the esophagus. Although esophageal dilation is effective in managing patients with EoE, it needs to be performed cautiously, given a perceived higher rate of perforation. AIM: The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of a strict wire-guided dilation protocol used in patients with EoE. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed to identify patients treated for EoE by a single physician (K.M.) over a 9-year period at UPMC. Medical records were reviewed to obtain information on demographic, clinical, and outcome data. Newly diagnosed and previously known EoE patients (biopsy proven) who underwent serial wire-guided bougie dilation were included in this study. All procedures were performed using monitored anesthesia care. On the basis of the initial endoscopic inspection, a bougie size was chosen that was subjectively considered to approximate the size of the esophageal lumen diameter. Fluoroscopy was used for safe guide wire placement if the endoscope could not traverse the stricture. After each bougie passage, the esophagus was reintubated with the endoscope to assess for mucosal tears. Serial dilation by 1 mm increments was continued until a small to moderate mucosal tear was seen, whereupon the procedure was terminated. For an index endoscopy for suspected EoE, biopsies were also taken to confirm the diagnosis. RESULTS: Thirty patients were identified, mean age 33 years, 90% men. Solid food dysphagia was present in all. Twenty-seven patients (90%) were diagnosed with EoE during the index dilation; 17% underwent dilation for known, but symptomatic EoE. The median initial bougie size was 11. The median final bougie size was 15 mm; 24 patients (80%) had resultant mucosal tears. One patient complained of postprocedure chest pain requiring opioids. There were no perforations or hospitalizations. After dilation, patients were placed on swallowed fluticasone for 6 weeks (87%), maintenance montelukast (90%), or a prednisone taper (7%). Six patients (20%) underwent repeat dilation for recurrent dysphagia. All except one of these patients were on medical therapy for EoE. CONCLUSION: Serial wire-guided dilation guided by repeated endoscopic inspection is safe in patients with EoE. Caution should be exercised when choosing the initial dilator size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-703
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Monitored anesthesia care
  • Perforation
  • Wire-guided dilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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