One hundred one patients with EB were evaluated by a combination of prospective and retrospective review, and analyzed regarding the nature, incidence, and prevalence of their gastrointestinal (GI) manifestations. Involvement of the GI tract is a well-known extracutaneous manifestation of dystrophic EB, but it also occurred in more than one-half and one-third, respectively, of those with junctional and simplex EB. Most of the serious consequences, such as esophageal strictures and microstomia, occurred in recessive dystrophic EB but were also seen, although infrequently, in the junctional and simplex forms. The majority of patients with dysphagia had an esophageal stricture, and the cervical esophagus was the most common location. The onset of dysphagia generally occurred in the first decade of life, in patients much younger than previously recognized. Diagnostic endoscopy did not reveal lesions which could not have been detected radiographically. Lower GI complaints were common, especially constipation and perianal blistering, and affected all types of EB. These complaints contributed substantially to management problems but they did not correlate with colonic pathology and appeared to reflect anal or perianal disease.
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