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Hypereosinophilic Syndrome

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (Inpatient Care) Care Guide

  • Hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES) is a group of conditions where you have too many eosinophils in your blood. Eosinophils are white blood cells that help fight infection with parasites (small living creatures). They are also present with certain allergic diseases, such as asthma. With HES, the increased numbers of eosinophils stay for too long in your body and cause damage your organs. The eosinophils cause damage from swelling inside the organs, including the brain, heart, lungs, and skin. The exact cause of HES is not known. Problems in your immune system or damage to the cells that make eosinophils may cause HES. The immune system is your body's defense system against infections and diseases.

  • When you have this condition, you may feel very weak, lose weight, and tire very easily. Your skin may have redness, swelling, itching, or flaking. You may have chest pain, trouble breathing, and numbness or weakness in your arms or legs. Your caregiver will ask you about your medical, travel, and drug history, and do a physical exam. You may need blood tests, bone marrow biopsy, echocardiogram, and x-rays. To treat your condition, you may be given steroids, and immune system and chemotherapy medicines. You may need a bone marrow transplant if medicines cannot decrease your symptoms. Diagnosing and treating HES as soon as possible may help relieve your symptoms and prevent further swelling and damage to your organs.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • Medicines to treat HES may have side effects, such as stomach pain, muscle aches, and heart problems. The bone marrow transplant procedure may cause bleeding or infection. Ask your caregiver for more information about the risks with having a bone marrow transplant. If your HES is not treated, eosinophils may continue to injure your organs by causing inflammation and swelling. You may get blood clots more easily, or get a blood cancer problem called leukemia or lymphoma. You may get problems with how your heart beats if eosinophils damage your heart. Your lungs may get scarred and you may have trouble breathing. Ask your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Immune system and chemotherapy medicines: These medicines may slow the making of eosinophils to decrease the number of them in your blood.

  • Steroid medicine: This medicine decreases inflammation (redness), pain, and swelling. Inflammation may be found in organs damaged by eosinophils. Steroids may also decrease the number of eosinophils in your body and prevent further damage.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Bone marrow biopsy: This is a procedure where a sample of bone marrow is removed and sent to a lab for tests. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside the bone. The skin over your upper hipbone is first cleaned. Caregivers put numbing medicine into your skin so you will have little pain. You caregiver may also give you medicine for anxiety and pain through an intravenous (IV) tube in your vein (blood vessel). A bandage is put on the biopsy area after the tissue sample is taken. Ask your caregiver for more information about bone marrow biopsy.

  • Echocardiogram:

    • This test is also called an echo. It is a type of ultrasound, using sound waves to show pictures of the size and shape of your heart. An echo also looks at how your heart moves when it is beating. These pictures are seen on a TV-like screen. This test can tell how well your heart is pumping. An echo can also find problems, such as a blood clot in your heart or thickening of your heart muscle. Ask your caregiver for more information about transthoracic echocardiogram.


  • Stool test: This is a test where a sample of your stool is examined to see if you have parasites.

  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Caregivers use it to see how your lungs and heart are doing. Caregivers may use the x-ray to look for signs of infection like pneumonia, or to look for collapsed lungs. Chest x-rays may show tumors, broken ribs, or fluid around the heart and lungs.

Treatment options:

  • Bone marrow transplant: This is a procedure where you receive healthy bone marrow from a donor. Bone marrow is the tissue where blood cells, including eosinophils, are made. You will receive medicine to weaken your own bone marrow before receiving the donor bone marrow. Your caregiver may use this procedure if all other medicines do not decrease your symptoms. Ask your caregiver for more information about bone marrow transplant.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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