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Development of Aspergillosis in a cohort of non-neutropenic, non-transplant patients colonised by Aspergillus spp

Autores: José Barberán, Francisco-Javier García-Pérez, Victoria Villena, Alberto Fernández-Villar, Eduardo Malmierca, Cristina Salas, María-José Giménez, Juan-José Granizo, Lorenzo Aguilar on behalf of the working group on Infectious Diseases from the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine

Background: A previous study explored factors discriminating colonization and true infection among non-transplant, non-neutropenic patients with repeated Aspergillus spp. isolation from lower respiratory samples. The present study explored the evolution of patients with Aspergillus colonization in that study to determine the percentage of cases progressing to aspergillosis and time to development.

Methods: Clinical records were retrospectively reviewed (for each patient from his end date in the past study) and data from all respiratory processes suffered by patients up to April 2015 were recorded. Comparisons of variables were performed between colonized patients that developed aspergillosis and those that did not. A Kaplan-Meier curve was used to describe time to development of aspergillosis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients for II-IV stages of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) classification.

Results: Sixty seven colonized patients were followed, 12 of them (17.9%) developed aspergillosis. Diagnoses included six tracheobronchitis (4 invasive, 2 simple tracheobronchitis), four pulmonary disease (2 invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, 2 chronic pulmonary aspergillosis), one allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and one pulmonary aspergilloma. Up to 47 (70.4%) of the study patients presented COPD. Among patients developing aspergillosis COPD was more frequent (100%) than among those that did not develop aspergillosis (35 out of 55; 63.6%) (p = 0.012), as well as GOLD IV patients were more frequent among COPD patients developing aspergillosis than among COPD patients that did not (50.0 vs. 26. 1%, p = 0.046). Mean time to development of aspergillosis was 18.4 months (median: 8.5) with a wide range (1–58). Overtime, the percentage of patients developing aspergillosis was significantly higher among GOLD IV patients than among GOLD II-III patients (p = 0.032).

Conclusions: The high percentage of cases progressing to aspergillosis among colonized patients, especially among those with COPD (25.5%), stresses the importance of colonization as risk factor, and creates awareness of the possible change from colonization to invasive disease in GOLD IV patients.

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