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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia

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Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia (IAEP) is characterized by the rapid accumulation of eosinophils in the lungs. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell and are part of the immune system.[1] IAEP can occur at any age but most commonly affects otherwise healthy individuals between 20 and 40 years of age. Signs and symptoms may include fever, cough, fatigue, difficulty breathing (dyspnea), muscle pain, and chest pain. IAEP can progress rapidly to acute respiratory failure.[1][2] The term “idiopathic” means the exact cause for the overproduction of eosinophils is not known. Possible triggers of acute eosinophilic pneumonia include cigarette smoking, occupational exposure to dust and smoke, and certain medications. [1] Diagnosis of IAEP generally involves a bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL).[1] Treatment with corticosteroids is effective in most cases. Because IAEP often progresses rapidly, respiratory failure can occur; in these cases, mechanical ventilation is required.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 3/24/2016


  1. Cottin, Vincent. Acute Eosinophilic Pneumonia. National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD). 2015; Accessed 3/23/2016.
  2. Dubus, Jean-Christophe. Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Orphanet. November, 2013; Accessed 3/23/2016.
  3. Wechsler, Michael. Eosinophilic Pneumonia. American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (Apfed). Accessed 3/23/2016.
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Basic Information

  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Idiopathic acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.