Acute eosinophilic pneumonia in a New York City firefighter exposed to World Trade Center dust

William N. Rom, Michael Weiden, Roberto Garcia, Ting An Yie, Pratan Vathesatogkit, Doris B. Tse, Georgeann McGuinness, Victor Roggli, David Prezant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


We report a sentinel case of acute eosinophilic pneumonia in a firefighter exposed to high concentrations of World Trade Center dust during the rescue effort from September 11 to 24. The firefighter presented with a Pa O2 of 53 mm Hg and responded to oxygen and corticosteroids. Computed tomography scan showed patchy ground glass density, thickened bronchial walls, and bilateral pleural effusions. Bronchoalveolar lavage recovered 70% eosinophils, with only 1% eosinophils in peripheral blood. Eosinophils were not degranulated and increased levels of interleukin-5 were measured in bronchoalveolar lavage and serum. Mineralogic analysis counted 305 commercial asbestos fibers/10 6 macrophages including those with high aspect ratios, and significant quantities of fly ash and degraded fibrous glass. Acute eosinophilic pneumonia is a rare consequence of acute high dust exposure. World Trade Center dust consists of large particle-size silicates, but fly ash and asbestos fibers may be found in bronchoalveolar lavage cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-800
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002


  • Asbestos
  • Eosinophil
  • Firefighter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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