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Retrospective cohort study: Effect of age as a barrier to diagnosis of eosinophilic oesophagitis

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2023 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/apt.17781. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Prior work suggests eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) is rare in those aged over 65 years. However, elderly patients with EoE experience a substantial diagnostic delay from symptom onset to diagnosis.

AIMS: To assess if age predicted whether oesophageal biopsies were obtained in patients with EoE symptoms, what clinical features predict EoE in the elderly, and if EoE phenotype differs between elderly and non-elderly patients.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study utilising the University of North Carolina (UNC) electronic medical record, EoE clinicopathologic database and UNC endoscopy software from July 2008 to April 2021. A sample of 193 elderly and non-elderly patients with dysphagia, chest pain and/or heartburn were assembled. Patients with EoE were newly diagnosed per contemporaneous guidelines. Patient demographics, clinical characteristics and procedural data were extracted. Summary statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

RESULTS: Of 193 patients, we included 91 elderly (47%) and 102 non-elderly (53%). Age independently predicted the odds of biopsies (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.44 elderly vs. non-elderly; 95% CI: 0.21-0.92). Endoscopic features of EoE, but not symptoms, were more common in elderly than non-EoE elderly patients. Elderly patients with EoE differed from non-elderly only by time to diagnosis (aOR per year of symptoms preceding diagnosis: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.04-1.11).

CONCLUSIONS: Elderly patients with EoE have <50% the odds of oesophageal biopsies. There were no significant differences between elderly and non-elderly EoE patients, although endoscopic features helped discriminate the two groups. Our findings suggest that older age represents a barrier to EoE diagnosis.

PMID:37877160 | DOI:10.1111/apt.17781

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