Eosinophilic lung disease

Last revised by Dr Dalia Ibrahim on 24 Sep 2022

Eosinophilic lung diseases are a heterogenous group of disorders that are characterized by excess infiltration of eosinophils within the lung interstitium and alveoli and are broadly divided into three main groups 1:

Diagnosis is made based on one of the following:

Pathology

Idiopathic 
Simple pulmonary eosinophilia (SPE)

Simple pulmonary eosinophilia (also known as Löffler syndrome) is a benign and self-limiting condition, characterized by mild symptoms and plain radiographic findings usually much more impressive than the patient's condition, and classically have a reverse bat's wing appearance. Blood eosinophilia is a feature.

Acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP)

Acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP) usually manifests with acute onset fever, severe dyspnea and hypoxia for <5 days with rapid progression and shows rapid improvement when treated with steroids and usually no relapse after treatment. Pulmonary lavage reveals >25% eosinophils, however peripheral blood eosinophil counts are usually normal. The etiology of AEP is unknown. It has been suggested that it may represent acute hypersensitivity to an inhaled antigen. CT findings include bilateral patchy areas of ground-glass opacity and interlobular septal thickening

Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia (CEP)

Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia is characterized by homogeneous peripheral airspace consolidation lasting >6 months, which responds to steroid treatment. This appearance results in a reverse bat's wing appearance. About 50% of patients with CEP have asthma. CEP may be difficult to differentiate from eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA).

Idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (IHS)

Idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome is a systemic disorder with damage to heart and the CNS. On CT, one finds nodules with a ground-glass halo, similar to SPE. In contrast to SPE, the opacities do not resolve spontaneously. In addition, approximately 50% of cases are associated with pleural effusions.

Secondary
Drugs 

These cases have non-specific findings on chest radiography and CT. Offending drugs include:

See also: drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS).

Infection
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)

ABPA is not a fungal infection, but rather a hypersensitivity response to fungal allergens. CT findings include bronchiectasis involving the central and upper lungs with or without mucoid impaction.

Bronchocentric granulomatosis (BG)

Bronchocentric granulomatosis (BG) is a rare disorder with non-specific radiographic findings. Approximately two-thirds of cases are not associated with tissue eosinophilia. The remaining one-third have peripheral eosinophilia, asthma, fungal hyphae at biopsy and positive sputum cultures for Aspergillus.

Eosinophilic vasculitis
Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA)

Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA), previously known as Churg-Strauss syndrome, is associated with CT findings similar to CEP. Like CEP, EGPA is seen in asthma patients. In contrast to CEP which has homogeneous peripheral airspace consolidations, the subpleural consolidations in EGPA tend to have a lobular distribution and tend to be migratory or transient. In addition, centrilobular nodules are found on CT.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: chronic eosinophilic lung disease
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 2: chronic eosinophilic pneumonia
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3: probable
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4: EGPA
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 5: EGPA
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 6: acute eosinophilic lung disease secondary to drug reaction
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.