Leung J, Nguyen-Traxler A, Lee EM, et al. Assessment of fractionated exhaled nitric oxide as a biomarker for the treatment of eosinophilic esophagitis. Allergy and asthma proceedings. 2012;33(6):519-24. doi:10.2500/aap.2012.33.3606

Diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) and determination of response to therapy is based on histological assessment of the esophagus, which requires upper endoscopy. In children, in whom a dietary approach is commonly used, multiple endoscopies are needed, because foods are eliminated and then gradually reintroduced. Ideally, noninvasive methods could supplement or replace upper endoscopy to facilitate management. Fractionated exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has been proposed as a useful measure for monitoring disease activity in studies of patients with eosinophil-predominant asthma and in other atopic disorders. Thus, we evaluated whether FeNO levels could be a useful biomarker to assess the response to therapy in EoE patients. This study was designed to determine whether there is a change in FeNO levels during treatment with topical corticosteroids and whether changes correlated with clinical response. This was a prospective, multicenter study that enrolled nonasthmatic patients with established EoE. FeNO levels and symptom scores were measured at baseline, biweekly during 6-week swallowed fluticasone treatment, and 4 weeks posttreatment. Twelve patients completed the trial. We found a statistically significant difference between median pre- and posttreatment FeNO levels [20.3 ppb (16.0 -29.0 ppb) vs 17.6 ppb (11.7 -27.3 ppb), [corrected] p=0.009]. However, neither the pretreatment FeNO level, a change of FeNO level after 2 weeks of treatment, nor the FeNO level at the end of treatment confidently predicted a clinical or histological response. Although our findings suggest nitric oxide possibly has a physiological role in EoE, our observations do not support a role of FeNo determination for management of EoE.


Chan WW, Chiou E, Obstein KL, Tignor AS, Whitlock TL. The efficacy of proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of asthma in adults: a meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine. 2011;171(7):620-9. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.116

BACKGROUND: Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs frequently among patients with asthma. Therapy with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to improve asthma control remains controversial. We sought to evaluate the efficacy of PPIs in treatment of asthma using objective and subjective outcome measures.

METHODS: A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE (1950-January 2010), PubMed (1950-January 2010), EMBASE (1980-January 2010), and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (through January 31, 2010). Randomized, placebo-controlled trials evaluating the efficacy of PPIs for treatment of asthma in adults were selected. The primary outcome of interest was morning peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate. Secondary outcomes included objective (evening PEF rate and forced expiratory volume in 1 second) and subjective (asthma symptoms score and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score) measures. Influence of study characteristics on outcomes was examined by subgroup analyses and meta-regression.

RESULTS: Eleven trials (2524 patients) met inclusion criteria. Overall, patients had a higher mean morning PEF rate after treatment with PPIs compared with placebo (mean difference, 8.68 L/min [95% confidence interval, 2.35-15.02]). No significant single large-study effect, temporal effect, or publication bias was seen. Subgroup analysis revealed a trend toward a larger improvement in morning PEF rate in studies enrolling only patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (mean difference, 16.90 L/min [95% confidence interval, 0.85-32.95]). Analyses of secondary outcomes (asthma symptoms score, Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire score, evening PEF rate, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second) showed no significant difference between PPIs and placebo.

CONCLUSIONS: Proton pump inhibitor therapy in adults with asthma results in a small, statistically significant improvement in morning PEF rate. The magnitude of this improvement, however, is unlikely to be of meaningful clinical significance. There is insufficient evidence to recommend empirical use of PPIs for routine treatment of asthma.

Chan WW, Haroian LR, Gyawali P. Value of preoperative esophageal function studies before laparoscopic antireflux surgery. Surgical endoscopy. 2011;25(9):2943-9. doi:10.1007/s00464-011-1646-9

BACKGROUND: The value of esophageal manometry and ambulatory pH monitoring before laparoscopic antireflux surgery (LARS) has been questioned because tailoring the operation to the degree of hypomotility often is not required. This study evaluated a consecutive cohort of patients referred for esophageal function studies in preparation for LARS to determine the rates of findings that would alter surgical decisions.

METHODS: High-resolution manometry (HRM) was performed for each subject using a 21-lumen water-perfused system, and motor function was characterized. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was evident from ambulatory pH monitoring if thresholds for acid exposure time and/or positive symptom association probability were passed.

RESULTS: Of 1,081 subjects (age, 48.4 ± 0.4 years; 56.7% female) undergoing preoperative HRM, 723 (66.9%) also had ambulatory pH testing performed. Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) hypotension (38.9%) and nonspecific spastic disorder (NSSD) of the esophageal body (36.1%) were common. Obstructive LES pathophysiology was noted in 2.5% (achalasia in 1%; incomplete LES relaxation in 1.5%), and significant esophageal body hypomotility in 4.5% (aperistalsis in 3.2%; severe hypomotility in 1.3%) of the subjects. Evidence of GERD was absent in 23.9% of the subjects. Spastic disorders were more frequent in the absence of GERD (43.9% vs. 23.1% with GERD; p < 0.0001), whereas hypomotility and normal patterns were more common with GERD.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings considered absolute or relative contraindications for standard 360º fundoplication are detected in 1 of 14 patients receiving preoperative HRM. Additionally, spastic findings associated with persistent postoperative symptoms are detected at esophageal function testing that could be used in preoperative counseling and candidate selection. Physiologic testing remains important in the preoperative evaluation of patients being considered for LARS.


Baez JC, Peters HE, Chan W, Glickman J, Mortelé KJ. Carcinoid tumor of the extrahepatic bile ducts: Sonographic, cholangiographic, and MDCT features. European Journal of Radiology Extra. 2010;73(3):e89-e92. doi:
Carcinoid tumors of the biliary tree are exceedingly rare. To the best of our knowledge, this is the fourth reported case of a biliary carcinoid in the radiological literature. We herein report on a 50-year-old female with a history of breast cancer who presented with epigastric pain. Laboratory evaluation revealed results consistent with obstructive jaundice. Right upper quadrant ultrasound and multidetector-row CT scan showed an intraductal and well-defined tumor in the porta hepatis with dilated intrahepatic bile ducts. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography showed the intraluminal growth of the tumor was arising from the right hepatic duct. Familiarity with the imaging appearances may prompt early recognition of biliary carcinoids and allow differentiation from other more common biliary neoplasms.