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Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia

Kevin K Brown, MD
Talmadge E King, Jr, MD
Section Editor
Kevin R Flaherty, MD, MS
Deputy Editor
Helen Hollingsworth, MD


Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia (CEP) is an idiopathic disorder characterized by an abnormal and marked accumulation of eosinophils in the interstitium and alveolar spaces of the lung [1,2].

The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic eosinophilic pneumonia will be reviewed here. The evaluation and differential diagnosis of eosinophilic lung diseases, in general, and an approach to acute eosinophilic pneumonia are presented separately. (See "Causes of pulmonary eosinophilia" and "Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia".)


CEP is a rare disorder. The incidence of CEP in an Icelandic registry was 0.23 cases/100,000 population per year between 1990 and 2004 [3]. In registries of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in Europe, CEP accounted for 0 to 2.5 percent of cases of ILD [4]. Women develop CEP about twice as often as men. A majority of patients are nonsmokers.


CEP typically affects patients in their 30s or 40s, although onset in childhood has been reported [5-7]. A history of atopy is found in 60 percent. Asthma precedes, accompanies, or subsequently occurs in over 50 percent of cases [8].

The disease has a gradual onset, with an interval of approximately four to five months between the appearance of initial symptoms and diagnosis [5]. Typical symptoms include a productive cough (33 to 42 percent), fever (67 percent), breathlessness (57 to 92 percent), weight loss (57 to 75 percent), and night sweats [5,9].


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Literature review current through: Sep 2015. | This topic last updated: Apr 14, 2015.
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