Jeffrey A. Alexander, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist, focuses his research efforts on the study of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE is a disease associated with esophageal inflammation. This inflammation can lead to esophageal scarring over many years. Patients may present in childhood, or as adults, with solid food sticking when they swallow and, in some cases, chest pain; chest pain can be a stand-alone symptom or seen in addition to difficulty swallowing.
Dr. Alexander has been researching eosinophilic esophagitis since 2007. His research involves studying multiple aspects of EoE, including diagnosis, clinical course and treatment. Dr. Alexander and his colleagues currently have several active treatment trials.
- Esophageal sponge. Dr. Alexander and colleagues have pioneered the use of this office-based unsedated procedure to evaluate esophageal inflammation. By using this procedure, health care providers are able to assess the effect of treatments without the need of a sedated scope procedure.
- Treatment trials. Dr. Alexander and colleagues have performed several Mayo Clinic-based treatment trials and continue to be involved in multiple multicenter international treatment trials for EoE.
- Esophageal dilation in EoE. Dr. Alexander and colleagues have performed studies on the safety and efficacy of esophageal dilation in EoE. Moreover, they have evaluated the role of medical treatment at preventing the need for further dilation in this disease.
- Esophageal barium X-rays. Dr. Alexander and colleagues pioneered the barium esophageal X-ray to measure the size of the esophagus in patients with EoE. With this procedure, a physician can determine the degree of esophageal scarring as well as the need for esophageal dilation treatment.
Significance to patient care
A deeper understanding of eosinophilic esophagitis by those in the medical community means health care workers can better educate patients on EoE disease course. Importantly, health care providers can offer treatments that can stop food sticking when swallowing, a symptom that negatively affects the quality of life for people with EoE. Moreover, health care providers can prevent the long-term complication of esophageal scarring seen in EoE.