DOI: 10.2500/jfa.2023.5.230014 ISSN: 2689-0267

Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES): Beyond the guidelines

Sohini Shah, Rebecca Grohman, Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn
  • Marketing
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemical Engineering

Background: Food protein‐induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a non‐immunoglobulin E (IgE) cell mediated food allergy that can cause severe symptoms and is considered an allergic emergency. Objective: To describe FPIES epidemiology and appraise the approach to diagnosis and management. Methods: A review of the relevant articles published in the peer-reviewed journals since the publication of the First International FPIES Consensus Guidelines in 2017. Results: FPIES is estimated to affect 0.51‐0.9% of children and 0.22% of adults in the United States. It typically presents with protracted, projectile vomiting, which occurs within 1‐4 hours of ingesting culprit foods, sometimes followed by diarrhea within 24 hours of ingestion. In ∼15‐20% of severe cases, patients go into hypovolemic or distributive shock. In chronic FPIES, infants may have failure to thrive and weight loss. The most common triggers include cow’s milk, oat, rice, and avocado, with egg and peanut being more frequently reported. Examples of other common fruit and vegetable triggers include banana, apple, and sweet potato. FPIES can be classified into acute, chronic, adult-onset, or atypical subtypes. FPIES is associated with comorbid atopic conditions of IgE-mediated food allergy, atopic dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eosinophilic esophagitis. The natural history of infantile FPIES is generally favorable, with the exception of fish FPIES. Seafood FPIES in adults has low rates of resolution over 3‐5 years. Correctly identifying FPIES can be challenging because there are no specific biomarkers for diagnosis and the constellation of symptoms may mimic those of infectious enteritis or sepsis. Management relies on dietary food avoidance, periodic re-evaluations for tolerance with oral food challenges, and management of acute reactions with rehydration and antiemetic ondansetron. Although the pathophysiology of FPIES remains poorly understood, underlying mechanisms such as cytokine release, leukocyte activation, and impaired gastrointestinal mucosal barrier function may act as cornerstones for further research. Conclusion: Prevention, laboratory diagnostic testing, and strategies to accelerate tolerance development are urgent unmet needs in FPIES.

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