Use of abdominal computed tomography for identifying disseminated fungal infection in pediatric cancer patients

Patricia M. Flynn, Jerry L. Shenep, Rosemary Crawford, Walter T. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Disseminated fungal infection (DFI) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among immunosuppressed patients with cancer. To determine the role of abdominal computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis and management of DFI, we studied the records of patients treated in a pediatric oncology center over an 11-year period. A total of 35 children had CT findings compatible with fungal abscesses in the liver, spleen, and/or kidneys and had fungal infection confirmed by culture, biopsy, or at autopsy. Patients were treated with antifungal agents (median duration of treatment, 57 days) until fever resolved and repeated CT scans demonstrated that the lesions had disappeared, regressed, or stabilized. The 3-month survival rate was 86%. An additional 29 patients with similar characteristics and risk factors had characteristic CT findings, but DFI was not documented with other procedures. These patients were empirically treated for presumed DFI; their courses and outcomes were similar to those for patients with documented DFI. These results suggest that it is reasonable to make a presumptive diagnosis of DFI for patients with characteristic CT findings and clinical features. With appropriate therapy, the prognosis for pediatric patients with cancer and documented or presumed DFI is good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-970
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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