Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 404, Issue 3, pp 309–325 | Cite as

New approaches for the detection of invasive fungal diseases in patients following liver transplantation—results of an observational clinical pilot study

  • Sebastian O. Decker
  • Albert Krüger
  • Henryk Wilk
  • Silke Grumaz
  • Yevhen Vainshtein
  • Felix C. F. Schmitt
  • Florian Uhle
  • Thomas Bruckner
  • Stefan Zimmermann
  • Arianeb Mehrabi
  • Markus Mieth
  • Karl Heinz Weiss
  • Markus A. Weigand
  • Stefan Hofer
  • Kai Sohn
  • Thorsten BrennerEmail author
Original Article



Despite antifungal prophylaxis following liver transplantation (LTX), patients are at risk for the development of subsequent opportunistic infections, such as an invasive fungal disease (IFD). However, culture-based diagnostic procedures are associated with relevant weaknesses.


Culture and next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based fungal findings as well as corresponding plasma levels of ß-D-glucan (BDG), galactomannan (GM), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-2, -4, -6, -10, -17A and mid-regional proadrenomedullin (MR-proADM) were evaluated in 93 patients at 6 consecutive time points within 28 days following LTX.


A NGS-based diagnostic approach was shown to be suitable for the early identification of fungal pathogens in patients following LTX. Moreover, MR-proADM and IL-17A in plasma proved suitable for the identification of patients with an IFD.


Plasma measurements of MR-proADM and IL-17A as well as a NGS-based diagnostic approach were shown to be attractive methodologies to attenuate the weaknesses of routinely used culture-based diagnostic procedures for the determination of an IFD in patients following LTX. However, an additional confirmation within a larger multicenter trial needs to be recommended.

Trial registration

German Clinical Trials Register: DRKS00005480.


Candida spp. Aspergillus spp. Next-generation sequencing Interleukin-17A ß-D-glucan Mid-regional proadrenomedullin 



We would like to thank Ute Krauser and Karolina Glanz for their excellent technical assistance.

Authors’ contributions

SOD conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, and helped in drafting the article. Furthermore, he performed data acquisition, carried out the measurements in the laboratory, and prepared the tables and figures. AK and HW performed data acquisition and were involved in critical revision of the article. FU, FCFS, AM, MM, KHW, MAW, and SH participated in the design of the study and were involved in revising the article. TBru participated in the design of the study and performed the statistical analysis. SZ performed all microbiological analyses and was involved in critical revision of the article. SG, YV, and KS were responsible for NGS-based diagnostics and revised the article critically. TBre conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, and drafted the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The study was conducted with the financial support of the Department of Anesthesiology (Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany) and Fraunhofer IGB (Stuttgart, Germany). Furthermore, this study received financial grants from the B. Braun Foundation, Melsungen, as well as the Heidelberg Foundation of Surgery, and was supported by the European Union grant Fungitect. MR-proADM measurements were carried out by BRAHMS GmbH.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

423_2019_1769_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (893 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 892 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian O. Decker
    • 1
  • Albert Krüger
    • 1
  • Henryk Wilk
    • 1
  • Silke Grumaz
    • 2
  • Yevhen Vainshtein
    • 2
  • Felix C. F. Schmitt
    • 1
  • Florian Uhle
    • 1
  • Thomas Bruckner
    • 3
  • Stefan Zimmermann
    • 4
  • Arianeb Mehrabi
    • 5
  • Markus Mieth
    • 5
  • Karl Heinz Weiss
    • 6
  • Markus A. Weigand
    • 1
  • Stefan Hofer
    • 7
  • Kai Sohn
    • 2
  • Thorsten Brenner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer IGBStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Biometry and InformaticsUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  4. 4.Department of Infectious Diseases, Medical Microbiology and HygieneHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  5. 5.Department of General, Visceral and Transplant SurgeryHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.Department of Internal Medicine IVHeidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany
  7. 7.Department of AnesthesiologyWestpfalzklinikumKaiserslauternGermany

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