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Management of invasive aspergillosis in patients with COPD: rational use of voriconazole

Authors Ader F, Bienvenu A, Rammaert B, Nseir S

Published 24 July 2009 Volume 2009:4 Pages 279—287


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Florence Ader1, Anne-Lise Bienvenu2, Blandine Rammaert3, Saad Nseir4

1Service des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales; 2Service de Parasitologie et Mycologie Médicale, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Hôpital de La Croixrousse, Lyon, France; 3Service des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Université Paris Descartes, Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades, Centre d’infectiologie Necker-Pasteur, Paris, France; 4Service de Réanimation Médicale, Hôpital A. Calmette, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire, Lille, France

Abstract: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is an important cause of mortality in patients with hematologic malignancies. The reported incidence of IPA in the context of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) seems to increase. Approximately 1%–2% of overall fatal cases of IPA occur in COPD patients. The combination of factors such as lung immune imbalance, long-term corticosteroid use, increasing rate of bacterial exacerbations over time, and malnutrition are responsible for the emergence of IPA in these patients. The diagnosis of IPA is difficult to establish, which explains the delay in implementing accurate antifungal therapy and the high mortality rate. Persistent pneumonia nonresponsive to appropriate antibiotic treatment raises the concern of an invasive fungal infection. Definite diagnosis is obtained from tissue biopsy evidencing Aspergillus spp. on microscopic examination or in culture. Culture and microscopy of respiratory tract samples have a sensitivity and specificity of around 50%. Other diagnostic tools can be useful in documenting IPA: computed tomography (CT) scan, nonculture-based tests in serum and/or in bronchoalveolar lavage such as antibody/antigen tests for Aspergillus spp. More recent tools such as polymerase chain reaction or [1→3]-β-D-glucan have predictive values that need to be further investigated in COPD patients. Antifungal monotherapy using azole voriconazole is recommended as a first-line treatment of IPA. This review assesses the use of voriconazole in COPD patients.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, corticosteroid, Aspergillus, invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, voriconazole

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