Eosinophilic Pneumonia

  • Vincent Cottin
  • Jean-François Cordier


Eosinophilic pneumonia may manifest as chronic or transient infiltrates with mild symptoms, chronic idiopathic eosinophilic pneumonia, or the frequently severe acute eosinophilic pneumonia that may be secondary to a variety of causes (drug intake, new onset of tobacco smoking, infection) and that may necessitate mechanical ventilation. When present, blood eosinophilia greater than 1 × 109 eosinophils/L (and preferably greater than 1.5 × 109/L) is of considerable help for suggesting the diagnosis, however it may be absent, as in the early phase of idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia or when patients are already taking corticosteroids. On bronchoalveolar lavage, high eosinophilia (>25 %, and preferably >40 % of differential cell count) is considered diagnostic of eosinophilic pneumonia in a compatible setting, obviating the need of video-assisted thoracic surgical lung biopsy, which is now performed only on very rare occasions with inconsistency between clinical, biological, and imaging features. Inquiry as to drug intake must be meticulous ( and any suspected drug should be withdrawn. Laboratory investigations for parasitic causes must take into account the travel history or residence and the epidemiology of parasites. In patients with associated extrathoracic manifestations, the diagnosis of eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis or of the hypereosinophilic syndromes should be raised. Presence of airflow obstruction can be found in hypereosinophilic asthma, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, idiopathic chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or in the recently identified syndrome of hyperosinophilic obliterative bronchiolitis. Corticosteroids remain the cornerstone of symptomatic treatment for eosinophilic pneumonias, with a generally dramatic response. Relapses are common when tapering the doses or after stopping treatment especially in idiopathic chronic eosinophilic pneumonia. Cyclophosphamide is necessary only in patients with eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis and poor-prognostic factors. Imatinib is very effective in the treatment of the myeloproliferative variant of hypereosinophilic syndromes. Anti-interleukin-5 monoclonal antibodies are promising in the spectrum of eosinophilic disorders.


Eosinophilic pneumonia aspergillosis Tropical eosinophilia Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis Churg-Strauss syndrome hypereosinophilic syndrome 


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© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary Medicine, National Reference Center for Rare Pulmonary DiseasesLouis Pradel Hospital, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, UMR 754LyonFrance

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