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Minerva Chirurgica 2004 February;59(1):45-52

language: Italian

Postoperative pneumonia caused by Candida in 500 lung surgery patients

Rovera F., Militello P., Antonini C., Imperatori A., Dominioni L.


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Background. Postoperative infections continue to be one of the most frequent complications in hospitalized patients. The incidence of fungal infection has been steadily rising. While Candida albicans remains the most common yeast species isolated in hospitalized patients, other Candida species have been increasingly isolated.
Methods. From 1996 to 2001, a prospective study of 500 consecutive lung surgery patients treated by the same surgical team was conducted to monitor the number of postoperative infections and to evaluate the epidemiology of bacterial and fungal infections.
Results. At least one postoperative infection developed in 18% of patients. Of the 51 patients who developed postoperative pneumonia, 24 underwent microbiological examination of sputum. In 19 of them, the culture yielded isolates of one or more Candida species. Slightly under half of patients (47%) with cultures positive for mycetes received treatment with fluconazole until the clinical infection resolved. The drug was well tolerated by all treated patients.
Conclusions. The incidence of fungal infection has increased also at our center. In 19 of 24 patients with postoperative pneumonia, sputum cultures yielded Candida species isolates. Many factors may be contributing to the rise in fungal infections after surgery. As pneumonia caused by Candida led to a significantly longer length of hospital stay in our case series, we draw attention to the importance of early diagnosis of postoperative mycotic lung disease in order to institute timely and targeted therapy.

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