Somsak Punjasamanvong, Chayawee Muangchan

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Keywords: Eosinophilia complications, eosinophils, post-hoc study, scleroderma, systemic complications


Objectives: This study aims to investigate the prevalence of persistent eosinophilia and associated organ complications in Thai patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).

Patients and methods: This post-hoc study included 107 adult patients (23 males, 84 females; mean age: 50.4±11.6 years; range, 18 to 79 years) diagnosed with SSc between November 2013 and June 2017. Eosinophilia was defined as an absolute eosinophil count of >500/μL or a percentage count of >7%. Eosinophil levels collected at every visit over one year were categorized as persistently high (PH), persistently low (PL), high-to-low (HL), low-to-high (LH), or variable levels (VL). The study compared variables between PH and non-PH (PL+HL+LH+VL) groups. The patients with baseline eosinophilia were also identified and compared with the non-eosinophilia group.

Results: The median disease duration was 3.2 years. Of the patients, 79.4% had diffuse cutaneous SSc and 76.7% had anti-Scl-70 positivity. A total of 11.2%, 66.4%, 1.9%, 8.4%, and 12.1% of the patients were categorized into the PH, PL, HL, LH, and VL groups, respectively. Compared to non-PH groups, the PH group had a higher prevalence of anti-centromere antibody (ACA), higher baseline percent predicted total lung capacity, and lower baseline C-reactive protein and creatine phosphokinase (p<0.05 for all). The ACA positivity (odds ratio [OR]: 18.5; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.64-208.46) was associated with PH. The patients with baseline eosinophilia (17.8%) had a higher prevalence of non-specific interstitial pneumonia with periodic eosinophilia at the time of diagnosis (100% vs. 6.5%, p<0.0001; OR: 4.667; 95% CI: 1.712-12.724).

Conclusion: The PH was seldom (11%) in patients with SSc compared to periodic eosinophilia, which was more prevalent (18%). It may be related to ACA positivity and better pulmonary outcomes, whereas periodic eosinophilia may involve interstitial lung disease.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.


We gratefully acknowledge the patients who participated in this study, Ms. Khemajira Karaketklang (Research and Academic Service Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand) for assistance with statistical analysis, and Asst. Prof. Kevin P. Jones (Siriraj Medical Research Center, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand) for medical research manuscript editing. We thank Hugh McGonigle, from Edanz Group for editing a draft of the manuscript.