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Simple pulmonary eosinophilia

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Pulmonary infiltrates with eosinophilia; Loeffler syndrome

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Most cases of simple pulmonary eosinophilia are due to an allergic reaction from:

  • A drug, such as a sulfonamide antibiotic or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • Infection with a fungus such as or
  • A parasite, including the roundworms hookworms , , or ()

Symptoms

The symptoms can range from none at all to severe. They may go away without treatment.

Signs 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 .

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

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

Gastric lavage may show signs of the Ascaris worm or another parasite.

Treatment

If you are allergic to a drug, the doctor may tell you to stop taking it. (Never stop taking a medication without first talking with your doctor.)

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

Sometimes, you may need corticosteroids (powerful anti-inflammatory medicines).

Expectations (prognosis)

The disease often goes away without treatment. If treatment is needed, the response is usually good. However, relapses can occur (the disease comes back).

Complications

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

References

Cottin V, Cordier JF. Eosinophilic lung diseases. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al, eds. . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 61.

McCarthy J, Nutrman TB. Parasitic lung infections. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al, eds. . 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 37.

Raghu G. Interstitial lung disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. . 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 92.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.