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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2007 Jun;26(6):377-84.

Candidemia in immunocompromised and immunocompetent critically ill patients: a prospective comparative study.

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  • 1Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Medical School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


The purpose of this study was to compare the risk factors, clinical manifestations, and outcome of candidemia in immunocompromised (IC) and nonimmunocompromised (NIC) critically ill patients. Data were collected prospectively over a 2-year period (02/2000-01/2002) from patients in a 25-bed, medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU). Eligible for participation in this study were patients who developed candidemia during their ICU stay. Patients under antifungal therapy and with a confirmed systemic fungal infection prior to the diagnosis of candidemia were excluded. Cultures of blood, urine, and stool were performed for all patients in the study, and all patients underwent endoscopy/biopsy of the esophagus for detection of Candida. Smears and/or scrapings of oropharyngeal and esophageal lesions were examined for hyphae and/or pseudohyphae and were also cultured for yeasts. During the study period, 1,627 patients were hospitalized in the ICU, 57% for primary medical reasons and 43% for surgical reasons. After application of the study's inclusion and exclusion criteria, 24 patients with candidemia (9 IC and 15 NIC) were analyzed. Total parenteral nutrition was more common in IC than in NIC patients (9/9 [100%] vs 8/15 [53%], p = 0.02). Oropharyngeal candidiasis was detected in 5 of 9 (55.5%) IC patients and in 1 of 15 (6.5%) NIC patients (p = 0.015). Esophageal candidiasis was also more common in IC than in NIC patients (4/9 [44%] vs 0/15 [0%], p = 0.012). Among the 9 IC patients, all except 2 died, resulting in a crude mortality of 78%; among the 15 NIC patients, 9 died, resulting in a crude mortality of 60% (p > 0.05). Autopsy was performed in two IC and in six NIC patients, with disseminated candidiasis found in one IC patient. Oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis are frequent in IC patients with candidemia. In contrast, this coexistence is rare in NIC critically ill patients with Candida bloodstream infections. A high mortality was noted in both IC and NIC critically ill patients with candidemia.

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