INTRODUCTION: Solid-organ transplantation (SOT) is a well-known risk factor for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). We report on the epidemiology and outcome of SOT patients with IPA in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting.
METHODS: This is a secondary study based on a subset of SOT patients from a prospective observational multicenter cohort (the AspICU project) including ICU patients with at least one Aspergillus spp. positive culture. Cases were classified as proven, probable, or putative IPA, or as Aspergillus-colonized. Mortality was reported at 12 weeks.
RESULTS: The study included 52 SOT patients (of which 18 lung, 17 liver, 12 kidney, and five heart transplants). Sixteen patients had proven IPA, 28 were categorized as putative IPA (of which only five reached a probable IPA diagnosis according to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycosis Study Group and Research Consortium criteria), and eight as Aspergillus-colonization. Among patients with IPA, 20 (45.5%) developed IPA during their ICU stay following transplantation whereas 24 patients (54.5%) had a medical ICU admission. Regarding medical imaging, nearly all IPA cases presented with non-specific findings as only nine demonstrated robust findings suggestive for invasive fungal disease. Overall, severity of the disease was reflected by a high prevalence of underlying conditions and acute organ derangements. Mortality among patients with IPA was 68%. Lung transplantation was associated with better survival (50%).
CONCLUSION: IPA in SOT patients in the ICU develops in the presence of overall high severity of the disease. It rarely presents with suggestive medical imaging thereby hampering diagnosis. IPA in ICU patients with SOT carries a grim prognosis.