Purpose Septic shock and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are characterized by a dysregulated immune host response that may respond to steroid therapy. Eosinophils contribute to type 2 inflammation that often responds to steroid therapy; their role in immune dysregulation and outcomes in sepsis and ARDS is unclear.
Source A systematic search of Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE was performed from inception to 9 September 2020. The search comprised the following
terms: eosinophils, sepsis, septic shock, and ARDS. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts and texts and extracted data on disease severity and clinical outcomes.
Principal findings Thirty-nine studies were identified: 30 evaluated serum eosinophil count in sepsis, one evaluated eosinophil activity in sepsis, three assessed bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) eosinophil count in ARDS, four assessed eosinophil activity in ARDS, and one assessed peripheral eosinophil count in ARDS. Eleven
studies showed an association between eosinopenia and sepsis, and eight studies found persistent eosinopenia at>48 hr of intensive care unit admission to predict mortality and readmission in septic patients. Three studies found BAL eosinophil count to be low in ARDS, although one found that levels rose in late-phase ARDS. Three studies found eosinophil activity markers in BAL to be high in ARDS and correlate with ARDS severity.
Conclusion Persistent peripheral eosinopenia is a marker of bacterial sepsis and is independently associated with poor outcomes. Bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophil count sare low in early-phase ARDS, but increase in late-phase ARDS, while elevated markers of eosinophil activity correlate with ARDS severity. Further studies understanding the mechanisms leading to eosinopenia in sepsis and increased eosinophil activity in ARDS are needed.