Cigarettes-induced acute eosinophilic pneumonia: a case report
© Navaravong et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2008
Received: 11 November 2008
Accepted: 23 December 2008
Published: 23 December 2008
Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia is a rare disease. It presents with acute febrile illness, respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary infiltration and high eosinophil levels in Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Pathogenesis is not well understood, but may relate to the exposure to exogenous substances.
We present a case of 20-year-old man, who developed idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia after smoking cigarettes and required intubation with mechanical ventilation. His symptoms resolved quickly after corticosteroids therapy.
Acute eosinophilic pneumonia should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient with acute febrile respiratory illness, diffuse bilateral pulmonary infiltrates and recent modification in smoking habit.
A 20-year-old Caucasian male, was transferred to our medical intensive care unit (MICU) with fever, progressive dyspnea and worsening chest radiograph, despite initial antibiotics. Patient denied history of using illicit drugs, food or drug allergies, and recent camping or wild animal contact. He was had occasionally smoked cigarettes, had abstained for three years before presentation. Two days prior to this admission, he had immense stress and smoked a whole pack of cigarettes within a few hours. Later, he gradually developed fever with chills, non-productive cough, and dyspnea within the same day of smoking. He presented to another hospital and was admitted for Community Acquired Pneumonia. Ceftriaxone and azithromycin were given empirically without improvement. According to worsening of symptoms and pulmonary infiltrates despite antibiotics, patient was transferred to MICU for further management.
On physical examination, he was in marked respiratory distress, temperature of 100.8°F, blood pressure of 127/65 mmHg, pulse 110 beats per minute. Crackles without wheezes were audible in both lungs. No pedal edema or Jugular venous distension was noted. There were no skin lesions, lymphadenopathy, joint swelling or erythema. With severe respiratory distress, the decision was made to intubate patient.
Idiopathic Acute Eosinophilic Pneumonia (IAEP) is a rare disorder with estimated incidence of 9.1 per 100,000 person years . IAEP is characterized by the following: (1) acute onset of febrile respiratory illness with duration less than one month, usually less than seven days; (2) hypoxemic respiratory failure; (3) diffuse bilateral infiltrates on chest radiographs; (4) pulmonary eosinophilia with more than 25% eosinophils in BAL fluid; (5) absence of infection, medications or other known causes of eosniophilic lung disease [2, 3].
The relationship between cigarette smoking and IAEP has been reported in many literatures, mostly in individual with recent cigarette smoking [1, 2, 4–6]. Rechallenge of smoking can cause recurrence of disease , while some patients develop tolerance when continue smoking . Furthermore, recent published study by Uchiyama et al , suggested that not only beginning to smoke, but also restarting or increasing amounts, are associated with IAEP.
Chest radiograph shows bilateral pulmonary infiltrates, mixed alveolar and reticular opacities up to ground glass opacities . CT chest shows ground-glass opacities, consolidation, nodular opacities and pleural effusion . BAL is the major diagnostic modality for IAEP. The eosinophil count greater than 25% is the key part of diagnosis [1, 2, 4].
The differential diagnoses of idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia are broad. Fungal and parasites are the main infectious etiologies that need to be excluded. Some medications have also been associated with eosinophilic pneumonia (see appendix 1).
Corticosteroids are the main treatment of this disease. The response is usually with in 24–48 hours without relapse following withdrawal of corticosteroids. Spontaneous improvement has also been reported. Prognosis is excellence in almost all cases. Death is exceptionally rare . After resolution of respiratory failure, prednisone will be continued at a dose of 40–60 mg/day orally for 2–4 weeks then tapering over 4 to 12 weeks until complete the course of treatment. Alternative diagnosis should be considered if there is no response to high-dose corticosteroid therapy .
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
Differential diagnoses for idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia 
Drug-induced pulmonary eosinophilia
∘ Antibiotics (nitrofurantoin, dapsone, clarithromycin, minocycline, ethambutol, isoniazid)
∘ Chemotherapeutic agents (methotrexate, bleomycin, fludarabine)
∘ Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs
∘ Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Medical Intensive Care Unit
Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia.
- Shorr AF, Scoville SL, Cersovsky SB, Shanks GD, Ockenhouse CF, Smoak BL, Carr WW, Petruccelli BP: Acute eosinophilic pneumonia among US Military personnel deployed in or near Iraq. JAMA. 2004, 292: 2997-3005. 10.1001/jama.292.24.2997.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Pope-Harman AL, Davis WB, Allen ED, Christoforidis AJ, Allen JN: Acute eosinophilic pneumonia. A summary of 15 cases and review of the literature. Medicine. 1996, 75: 334-42. 10.1097/00005792-199611000-00004.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Cottin V, Cordier J-F: Eosinophilic Pneumonias. Allergy. 2005, 60: 841-57. 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2005.00812.x.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Philit F, Etienne-Mastroianni B, Parrot A, Guérin C, Robert D, Cordier JF: Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia: a study of 22 patients. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002, 166: 1235-9. 10.1164/rccm.2112056.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Shiota Y, Kawai T, Matsumoto H, Hiyama J, Tokuda Y, Marukawa M, Ono T, Mashiba H: Acute eosinophilic pneumonia following cigarette smoking. Intern Med. 2000, 39: 830-3. 10.2169/internalmedicine.39.830.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Watanabe K, Fujimura M, Kasahara K, Yasui M, Myou S, Kita T, Watanabe A, Nakao S: Acute eosinophilic pneumonia following cigarette smoking: a case report including cigarette-smoking challenge test. Intern Med. 2002, 41: 1016-20. 10.2169/internalmedicine.41.1016.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Rom WN, Weiden M, Garcia R, Yie TA, Vathesatogkit P, Tse DB, McGuinness G, Roggli V, Prezant D: Acute Eosinophilic Pneumonia in New York City firefighter exposed to World Trade center dust. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002, 166: 797-800. 10.1164/rccm.200206-576OC.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kitahara Y, Matsumoto K, Taooka Y, Moritani C, Nakamura K, Ohashi N, Daido K, Arita K: Cigarette smoking-induced acute eosinophilic pneumonia showing tolerance in broncho-alveolar lavage findings. Intern Med. 2003, 42: 1016-21. 10.2169/internalmedicine.42.1016.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Uchiyama H, Suda T, Nakamura Y, Shirai M, Gemma H, Shirai T, Toyoshima M, Imokawa S, Yasuda K, Ida M, Nakano Y, Inui N, Sato J, Hayakawa H, Chida K: Alterations in smoking habits are associated with acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Chest. 2008, 133: 1174-80. 10.1378/chest.07-2669.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Vahid B, Marik P: An 18-Year-Old Woman with Fever, Diffuse Pulmonary Opacities, and Rapid Onset of Respiratory Failure. Chest. 2006, 130: 1938-41. 10.1378/chest.130.6.1938.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.