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Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome: a challenging diagnosis


Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES) is a non-IgE-mediated gastrointestinal food hypersensitivity triggered by food proteins. It may present acutely, with repetitive vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy leading to dehydration and eventually shock or insidiously with intermittent emesis, chronic diarrhoea or failure to thrive. We describe a paediatric male patient with recurrent sepsis-like episodes of fever, lethargy, ashen-grey skin colouration and vomiting followed by diarrhoea. These episodes were triggered by cow’s milk formula and grains. Laboratory tests revealed leucocytosis, thrombocytosis, metabolic acidosis and elevated C reactive protein. After exclusion of other differential diagnoses, the diagnosis of FPIES was established on clinical improvement with withdrawal of the offending food and positive oral food challenge. FPIES diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion and is frequently delayed, which contributes to an increased morbidity. This is due to the wide spectrum of clinical presentations and due to the absence of specific diagnostic tests.

  • gastroenterology
  • nutritional support
  • paediatrics
  • childhood nutrition (paediatrics)

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