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Invasive fungal infections following liver transplantation – risk factors, incidence and outcome

Marek J. Pacholczyk, Beata Lagiewska, Wojciech Lisik, Dariusz Wasiak, Andrzej Chmura

Ann Transplant 2011; 16(3): 14-16

ID: 881989

Background:    The incidence of invasive fungal infections (IFIs), particularly candidiasis and aspergillosis, following solid organ transplantation vary from 1.4% to 42%. IFIs most commonly occur after orthotropic liver transplantation (OLT), lung/heart and pancreas transplantation. Mortality related to IFIs depends on the type of transplant and vary from 3% to 100% of cases. The results largely depend on early initiation of specific treatment for IFIs. Therefore, the diagnosis has to be prompt and based on known risk factors – time of surgical procedure, type of biliary anastomosis, blood loss, rate of rejection and re-transplantation.
    Material/Methods:    We evaluated the incidence of fungal infections in patients after liver transplantation in our center. The retrospective analysis of 175 consecutive OLT patients was undertaken to estimate incidence, risk factors and clinical courses of IFIs in the last 6 years at our center.
    Results:    Infections involving Aspergillus (6 cases), Candida (24 cases) and Cryptococcus (1 case) were observed in 17.7% of our recipients. Except for 1 case (Cryptococcus encephalitis), all of the episodes developed during the first month post-transplantation. All cases of lung aspergillosis developed in patients with autoimmune cholestasis prior to transplantation. In 1 case after transplantation, in a patient with bile duct necrosis requiring reoperation, pneumonia developed. In 3 cases, pulses of steroids were used to treat acute rejection. Apart from that, none of the potential risk factors of IFIs described by other authors were noted. Five out of 6 cases of aspergillosis survived on combined antifungal therapy. The recipient diagnosed with cryptococcal encephalitis died. All cases with urinary tract (n=18; 8.6%) or respiratory (n=6; 3.4%) candidiasis survived.
    Conclusions:    Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is fundamental for patient survival.

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