Research: MEHR and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 173


MEHR and COLLEAGUES,  Department of Allergy and Immunology, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia 2145. studied the multi-factorial causes, treatments and outcomes for children with acute enterocolitis syndrome.


The goal was to examine the demographic characteristics, causative foods, clinical features, treatments, and outcomes for children presenting with acute food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome.


This was a retrospective study of children with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome who presented to the Children's Hospital at Westmead (Sydney, Australia) over 16 years.


Thirty-five children experienced 66 episodes of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome. The mean age at initial presentation was 5.5 months. Children frequently experienced multiple episodes before a correct diagnosis was made. Twenty-nine children reacted to 1 food, and 6 reacted to 2 foods. Causative foods for the 35 children were rice (n = 14), soy (n = 12), cow's milk (n = 7), vegetables and fruits (n = 3), meats (n = 2), oats (n = 2), and fish (n = 1). In the 66 episodes, vomiting was the most common clinical feature (100%), followed by lethargy (85%), pallor (67%), and diarrhoea (24%). A temperature of <36 degrees C at presentation was recorded for 24% of episodes. A platelet count of >500 x 10(9) cells per L was recorded for 63% of episodes with blood count results. Only 2 of the 19 children who presented to an emergency department with their initial reactions were discharged with correct diagnoses. Additional investigations of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome episodes presenting to the hospital were common, with 34% of patients undergoing abdominal imaging, 28% undergoing a septic evaluation, and 22% having a surgical consultation. Prognosis was good, with high rates of resolution for the 2 most common food triggers (ie, rice and soy) by 3 years of age.


Misdiagnosis and delays in diagnosis for children with food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome were common, leading many children to undergo unnecessary, often painful investigations. Decreased body temperature and thrombocytosis emerge as additional features of the syndrome.


Mehr S, Kakakios A, Frith K and Kemp AS. Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome: 16-year experience. Pediatrics. 123(3): e459-64. Mar 2009.

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