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Simple pulmonary eosinophilia

  • Definition
    • Simple pulmonary eosinophilia is inflammation of the lungs from an increase in eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.

  • Alternative Names
    • Pulmonary infiltrates with eosinophilia; Loffler syndrome; Eosinophilic pneumonia; Pneumonia - eosinophilic

  • Causes
    • Most cases of this condition are due to an allergic reaction from:

      In some cases, no cause is found.

  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
    • The health care provider will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. Crackle-like sounds called rales may be heard. Rales suggest inflammation of the lung tissue.

      A complete blood count (CBC) may show increased white blood cells, particularly eosinophils.

      Chest x-ray usually shows abnormal shadows called infiltrates. They may disappear with time or reappear in different areas of the lung.

      A bronchoscopy with washing may show a large number of eosinophils.

      A procedure that removes the stomach contents (gastric lavage) may show signs of the Ascaris worm or another parasite.

  • Treatment
    • If you are allergic to a medicine, your provider may tell you to stop taking it. Never stop taking a medicine without first talking with your provider.

      If the condition is due to an infection, you may be treated with an antibiotic or anti-parasitic medicine.

      Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medicines called corticosteroids are given.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • The disease often goes away without treatment. If treatment is needed, the response is usually good. But, the disease can come back, especially if the condition does not have a specific cause and needs to be treated with corticosteroids.

  • Possible Complications
    • A rare complication of simple pulmonary eosinophilia is a severe type of pneumonia called acute idiopathic eosinophilic pneumonia.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • See your provider if you have symptoms that may be linked with this disorder.

  • Prevention
    • This is a rare disorder. Many times, the cause cannot be found. Minimizing exposure to possible risk factors, such as certain medicines or parasites, may reduce the chance of developing this disorder.

  • References
    • Cottin V, Cordier JF. Eosinophilic lung diseases. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 68.

      Kim K, Weiss LM, Tanowitz HB. Parasitic infections. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 39.