Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia. A long-term follow-up of 12 patients

Chest. 1993 Jan;103(1):162-5. doi: 10.1378/chest.103.1.162.


Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia (CEP) is a rare disorder of unknown etiology characterized by striking systemic and pulmonary manifestations such as fever, weight loss, blood eosinophilia, characteristic fluffy peripheral opacities on chest radiograph, and a prompt response to corticosteroid therapy. While the initial phase has been well documented, there is very limited information concerning the long-term natural history and treated course of this condition. We report the clinical and laboratory findings together with the long-term follow-up data on 12 patients with classic CEP who were followed up for a mean of 10.2 years (range, 4 to 13 years). The most striking feature of the long-term follow-up was the occurrence of relapses of CEP (often on multiple occasions) when corticosteroid therapy was discontinued or the dose was tapered. In those nine patients in whom steroid withdrawal was commenced, there was a clinical, hematologic, and radiologic relapse in seven (58 percent). However, prompt reinstitution of therapy led to a rapid resolution of symptoms. By contrast, two patients (17 percent) showed no evidence of relapse when steroid therapy was discontinued. A further three patients (25 percent) are maintained on a regimen of low-dose steroid therapy with no episodes of relapse. Reassuringly, all 12 patients are well at the end of a long period of follow-up. These data suggest that the long-term prognosis for patients with CEP is excellent but the majority will require long-term low-dose oral corticosteroid therapy in order to prevent relapse.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / blood
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / pathology
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / physiopathology*
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence


  • Prednisolone