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Hosp Pract (1995). 2013 Feb;41(1):117-21. doi: 10.3810/hp.2013.02.1017.

The tell-tale heart: Aspergillus fumigatus endocarditis in an immunocompetent patient.

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  • 1Department of Hospital-Based Specialists, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa, CA, USA.


Aspergillus is a saprophytic, spore-forming fungus that is ubiquitous in our daily environment. Inhalation of the airborne conidia leads to a variety of diseases, from asymptomatic colonization to disseminated disease. Immunocompromised patients are usually viewed as the population most susceptible to aspergillosis because of their lack of host immune defenses. However, a healthy immune system does not preclude an individual from susceptibility to aspergillosis. Our case illustrates an immunocompetent patient with disseminated aspergillosis involving the tricuspid valve. A high degree of suspicion is imperative in patients who present without the classic risk factors. Recognition of disseminated aspergillosis in such patients is necessary to promote early diagnosis, treatment, and improved outcomes in an otherwise fulminant, life-threatening infection.

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