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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2014 Apr;27(2):174-83. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000043.

Approach to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis in critically ill patients.

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a2nd Department of Critical Care Medicine, Attikon University Hospital, Athens, Greece bBurns, Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia cUnidadClínica de Cuidados Críticos y Urgencias, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, Spain dDepartment of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Health Science, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.



Apparently immunocompetent critically ill patients represent an increasing population at risk for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). The current review gives an update on the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of IPA in the ICU.


Patients without apparent severe immunosuppression (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, decompensated liver disease, etc.) represent the majority of ICU IPA cases. IPA diagnosis is problematic and the true incidence of IPA is difficult to be estimated because of the nonspecific clinical presentation. A user-friendly clinical diagnostic algorithm for IPA is valuable, particularly through a high negative predictive value. IPA carries a poor prognosis and has an important impact on hospital costs. Timely diagnosis and prompt administration of appropriate treatment may improve the outcomes. Intravenous voriconazole is the recommended primary IPA treatment, but liposomal amphotericin B also has clinical utility. Voriconazole presents bioavailability and toxicity issues, and drug level monitoring is advocated. Caspofungin or antifungal combinations are recommended as salvage therapy.


A high level of suspicion in critically ill patients presenting with Aspergillus-positive respiratory tract cultures or nonresolving pulmonary infection may lead to earlier IPA diagnosis. Dosage individualization may decrease treatment discontinuation and improve clinical efficacy.

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