A combination of predispositions and exposures as responsible for acute eosinophilic pneumonia
Background: Acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP) is a rare febrile illness which is characterized by respiratory failure and often requires mechanical ventilation. The causes and sequence of events of this disease at a biochemical and histological level remain largely unknown. In this article we report the exceptional case, possibly unique, of a patient who developed AEP and three pneumothoraces within less than one month during her hospitalization.
Case presentation: A 39-year-old German woman was admitted to our hospital for a laparoscopy-assisted vaginal hysterectomy under general anaesthesia. The surgical intervention was followed by peritonitis in the early postoperative course. Following anaesthesia induction with propofol/midazolam and during the prolonged therapy with several broad-spectrum antibiotics, she developed AEP and three spontaneous (one left-sided and two right-sided) pneumothoraces, the latter ones observed in quick succession. Symptoms, laboratory markers, and chest radiology significantly improved after a one-day treatment with methylprednisolone.
Conclusions: On the whole, these pathological occurrences, together with similar cases reported in literature, can support the conclusion of possible predisposing genetic factors at the lung tissue level of AEP patients, a view that might shed new light on the pathogenesis of this disease. To provide a coherent pattern that explains the reported evidence for AEP and pneumothoraces, independently from the causative stimulus, the supposed molecular mutations could be localized in the connective tissue rather than in the epithelial cells. In order to interpret clinical and laboratory evidence, as well as to support the main conclusions, the important part of scientific research here presented can also assist physicians in making more informed decisions for the treatment of patients with pulmonary infiltrates.
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