, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 206-216
Date: 20 Apr 2014

Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of systemic Candida infection in surgical patients under intensive care

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Abstract

The incidence of systemic Candida infections in patients requiring intensive care has increased substantially in recent years as a result of a combination of factors. More patients with severe underlying disease or immunosuppression from anti-neoplastic or anti-rejection chemotherapy and at risk from fungal infection are now admitted to the ICU. Improvements in supportive medical and surgical care have led to many patients who would previously have died as a result of trauma or disease surviving to receive intensive care. Moreover, some therapeutic interventions used in the ICU, most notably broad-spectrum antibiotics and intravascular catheters, are also associated with increased risks of candidiasis. Systemic Candida infections are associated with a high morbidity and mortality, but remain difficult to diagnose and ICU staff need to bé acutely aware of this often insidious pathogen. A number of studies have identified risk factors for systemic Candida infection which may be used to identify those at highest risk. Such patients may be potential candidates for early, presumptive therapy. Here we review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, morbidity and mortality of systemic Candida infections in the ICU setting, and examine predisposing risk factors. Antifungal treatment, including the use of amphotericin B, flucytosine and fluconazole, and the roles of early presumptive therapy and prophylaxis, is also reviewed.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Inc.