Eosinophilic Fasciitis
(Shulman's Syndrome)

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What are eosinophils?

Eosinophils are a particular type of white blood cells, usually representing a small percentage (less than 8% of the total white blood cell population) that are easily stained by eosin and other dyes; they have a characteristic double-lobed nucleus. The number of these cells (eosinophil count) increases in certain illnesses, including allergies, asthma, Addison's disease, sarcoidosis, parasite infections, drug reactions, and connective tissue diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma).

What is fascia?

The fascia is a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue under the skin that covers a surface of underlying tissues. Fascia surrounds each of the muscles that move the skeleton. When the fascia is inflamed, the condition is referred to as "fasciitis."

What is eosinophilic fasciitis?

Eosinophilic fasciitis is a rare disease that leads to inflammation and thickening of the skin and fascia underneath. In patients with eosinophilic fasciitis, the involved fascia is inflamed with the eosinophil type of white blood cells. This leads to symptoms of progressive thickening and often redness, warmth, and hardness of the skin surface.

Occasionally, the onset of eosinophilic fasciitis follows a period of exertional physical activity. Eosinophilic fasciitis is sometimes confused with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and scleroderma. Eosinophilic fasciitis sometimes occurs associated with cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.