What is Loeffler's Syndrome?
Loeffler's Syndrome is another name for simple pulmonary eosinophilia, which is inflammation of the lungs with a build up of eosinophils, which are usually seen on X-rays. Eosinophils (ee-uh-sin-uh-fils) are a type of white blood cell that are not naturally present in the lungs and are part of the body's defenses against infections and diseases. If they are present in the lungs, it is likely due to an allergic reaction a parasitic infection (such as roundworm) or to certain medications.
Parasites are absorbed through the skin and work their way through the body as they grow and mature with a predictable lifespan of 10-16 days. Loeffler's Syndrome tends to affect young children, since they are most likely to be exposed to contaminated soil and put their hands in their mouths more frequently (www.madisonsfoundation.org). These types of occurrences happen at a rate of 20-67 percent of Loeffler's Syndrome cases found in children living in rural southern communities. These kinds of parasites thrive in tropical climates and are more prevalent in communities with poor sanitary conditions.
Other causes include inhaled toxins (for example, cocaine), systemic disorders (for example, Churg-Strauss Syndome, which is inflammation of blood vessels), or allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (an infection or disease caused by an Aspergillus mold) (www.dictionary.com).
One out of every three cases does not have a known cause (www.madisonsfoundation.org).
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Common symptoms include:
- dry, nonproductive cough
- general not-well feeling
- chest pain
- increased respiratory rate
- shortness of breath
- rash (www.healthline.com; www.madisonsfoundation.org)
These symptoms are usually temporary and eventually resolve on their own. Some children may not experience any symptoms at all.
Diagnosis is confirmed through blood tests that show an increase in white blood cells, particularly in eosinophils, a chest X-ray, bronchoscopy, or gastric lavage (washing out of the stomach).
Treatment and Prognosis