LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. – and direct visualization of these strictures is the preferred method of diagnosis. Those are key findings from a multicenter study that lead author Elena Pope, MD, discussed at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.
According to, who heads the section of dermatology at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, an estimated 10%-17% of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) patients experience strictures, with an overrepresentation in the recessive dystrophic EB subtype in up to 80% of cases. The risk increases with age. “What remains unknown is the best short- and long-term intervention to manage the strictures and predictors/associations for stricture-free episodes,” Dr. Pope said. “The objectives of the current study were to determine the prevalence and predisposing factors for strictures in EB, management options, patient outcomes, and predictors for recurrences and stricture-free intervals.”
She and her associates at seven centers worldwide collected data on 125 EB patients who experienced at least one episode of esophageal stricture. Data was analyzed descriptively and with ANOVA regression analysis for associations/predictors for recurrences/episode-free intervals.
The researchers evaluated 497 stricture events in the 125 patients. A slight female predominance was noted (53%), and the mean age of the first episode was 12.7 years, “which is a little bit older” than the age found in previously published data, Dr. Pope said. As expected, dystrophic EB patients made up most of the sample (98.4%); of these 123 patients, recessive dystrophic EB severe generalized subtype – approaching 50% – was the most common, followed by the recessive dystrophic EB severe intermediate subtype (almost 21%), the dominant dystrophic EB generalized subtype (7%), and other types of dystrophic EB (almost 26%).
The median body mass index percentile for age was 6.3, “so these were patients who were severely malnourished, probably as a result of their strictures as well as their underlying disease,” Dr. Pope said.
As expected, dysphagia was a presenting symptom in most patients (85.5%), while 29.8% presented with inability to swallow solids. The preferred method of evaluation was video fluoroscopy (57.7%), and less commonly with barium swallow (22.3%) or with clinical symptoms alone (0.1%). The mean number of strictures was 1.69; 76.7% were located in the cervical area, 56.7% were located in the thoracic area, and 9.7% were located in the abdominal area. Most patients (76%) had lesions that were 1 cm or longer in size.
Fluoroscopy guidance was the most common method of dilatation (in 45.2% of cases), followed by retrograde endoscopy was (33%), antegrade endoscopy (19.1%), and bougienage (0.1%). General anesthesia was used in most cases (87.6%), and corticosteroids were used around the dilatation in 90.4% of patients. The mean duration of medication use was about 5 days.
As for outcomes after dilatation, 92.2% of strictures completely resolved, 3.8% were partially resolved, 3.9% were not resolved, and 2.7% had complications. The median interval between dilatations was 7 months. Fluoroscopy-guided balloon dilatation was associated with the longest esophageal stricture-free duration (mean of 13.83 months vs. 8.75 months; P less than .001), followed by retrograde endoscopy (mean of 13.10 months vs. 7.85 months; P less than .001), and antegrade endoscopy (mean of 7.63 months vs. 11.46 months; P = .024). “I think this is interesting,” said Dr. Pope, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto. “I think the difference occurs because if you use the endoscopy, which a rigid tube, you can potentially cause more damage, and more long-term scarring.”