Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES)

Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Did You Know? Complications most frequently arise in the skin, heart, lungs and nervous system

Hypereosinophilic Syndrome Occurs Most Frequently in Young to Middle-Aged Patients 

HES Was First Observed in 1846 by Wharton Jones

Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES) is a rare immune disorder that occurs when an individual’s blood has very high numbers of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell associated with allergies and asthma). 

Under normal circumstances, a person has less than 500 eosinophils per microliter in their blood. Patients with HES usually have over 1,500 eosinophils per microliter in their blood for a period lasting six months or longer and the cause cannot be determined. 

Please continue reading to learn more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for HES. 

01 | Symptoms

In cases of HES, eosinophils travel into various tissue, causing inflammation and organ dysfunction. Depending on the parts of the body that are affected, symptoms vary and may include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Dizziness
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Cough and shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores

02 | Diagnosis

Because symptoms of HES are similar to many other medical problems, making a conclusive diagnosis may be difficult. An allergist/immunologist will first work to rule out other conditions, and will perform a series of tests, such as:

  • Stool examination
  • Allergy testing
  • Skin or organ biopsy
  • Blood screening
  • CT imaging of affected organs
  • Molecular genetic studies

03 | Treatment & Management

By reducing the level of eosinophils in the blood and tissues, tissue damage can be reduced, which reduces the patient’s risk for complications. Treatment will include corticosteroid and chemotherapeutic injections. New treatment therapies have been established include the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibody therapy. 

With early diagnosis, survival rates have improved greatly. Today, more than 80% of HES patients have a survival rate of five or more years. 

For additional information, please visit the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: http://www.aaaai.org/   

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