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November 2014 Pulmonary Case of the Month: BAL Eosinophilia

Salma Imran Patel, MD, MPH

Lewis J. Wesselius, MD

Laszlo T. Vaszar, MD


Departments of Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine

Mayo Clinic Arizona

Scottsdale, AZ


History of Present Illness

A 62 year-old- was admitted to the hospital for 2 weeks of worsening cough, yellowish sputum production, shortness of breath and pleuritic chest pain. The patient has had asthma since the 1970s and presently uses salmeterol/fluticasone and albuterol as a rescue inhaler. He was intubated once four years ago, and has had a total of three hospitalizations for his asthma and 15 courses of prednisone. He is sensitive to cold/hot air, all animals, aspirin and acetaminophen.


In addition to the asthma, he has a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and chronic abdominal pain.

Physical Examination

Vital signs: T 36.6º C, HR 98, BP129/69, RR 20 and SPO2 96% on 2 L of oxygen by nasal cannula. He was mildly distressed and coughing. His pulmonary exam showed diffuse inspiratory and expiratory wheezes. The remainder of his exam was unremarkable.


Significant findings on laboratory evaluation include an elevated white blood cell count of 13,400 cells/ɥL, an elevated absolute eosinophil count of 2,820 eosinophils/ɥL, an elevated glucose of 131 mg/dL, and a low sodium of 120 mEq/L.


A thoracic CT scan was performed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Representative images in lung windows from thoracic CT scan.

Which of the following best describes the CT scan? (click on the correct answer to proceed to the next panel)

  1. Cavitary changes in both apices
  2. Central consolidation
  3. Fibrotic changes at the bases
  4. Peripheral opacities
  5. Normal

Reference as: Palel SI, Wesselius LJ, Vasczar LT. November 2014 pulmonary case of the month: BAL eosinophilia. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2014;9(5):251-6. doi: PDF

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