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Intensive Care Med. 2007 Oct;33(10):1694-703. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Management of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in non-neutropenic critically ill patients.

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Department of Intensive Care, VU Medical Centre, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


During recent years, a rising incidence of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) in non-neutropenic critically ill patients has been reported. Critically ill patients are prone to develop disturbances in immunoregulation during their stay in the ICU, which render them more vulnerable for fungal infections. Risk factors such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), prolonged use of steroids, advanced liver disease, chronic renal replacement therapy, near-drowning and diabetes mellitus have been described. Diagnosis of IPA may be difficult and obtaining histo- or cytopathological demonstration of the fungus in order to meet the gold standard for IPA is not always feasible in these patients. Laboratory markers used as a non-invasive diagnostic tool, such as the galactomannan antigen test (GM), 1,3-beta-glucan, and Aspergillus PCR, show varying results. Antifungal therapy might be considered in patients with persistent pulmonary infection who exhibit risk factors together with positive cultures or sequentially positive GM and Aspergillus PCR in serum, in whom voriconazole is the drug of choice. The benefit of combination antifungal therapy lacks sufficient evidence so far, but this treatment might be considered in patients with breakthrough infections or refractory disease.

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