Aspergillus infections in transplant and non-transplant surgical patients

Stephen Davies, Christopher Guidry, Amani Politano, Laura Rosenberger, Matthew Mcleod, Tjasa Hranjec, Robert Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Aspergillus infections are associated commonly with immunocompromised states, such as transplantation and hematologic malignant disease. Although Aspergillus infections among patients having surgery occur primarily in transplant recipients, they are found in non-recipients of transplants, and have a mortality rate similar to that seen among transplant recipients. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of a prospective data base collected from 1996 to 2010, in which we identified patients with Aspergillus infections. We compared demographic data, co-morbidities, and outcomes in non-transplant patients with those in abdominal transplant recipients. Continuous data were evaluated with the Student t-test, and categorical data were evaluated through χ2 analysis. Results: Twenty-three patients (11 transplant patients and 12 non-transplant patients) were identified as having had Aspergillus infections. The two groups were similar with regard to their demographics and co-morbidities, with the exceptions of their scores on the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II), of 23.6±8.1 points for transplant patients vs. 16.8±6.1 points for non-transplant patients (p=0.03); Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) of 16.6±8.3 points vs. 9.2±4.1 points, respectively (p=0.02); steroid use 91.0% vs. 25.0%, respectively (p=0.003); and percentage of infections acquired in the intensive care unit (ICU) 27.3% vs. 83.3%, respectively (p=0.01). The most common site of infection in both patient groups was the lung. The two groups showed no significant difference in the number of days from admission to treatment, hospital length of stay following treatment, or mortality. Conclusions: Although Aspergillus infections among surgical patients have been associated historically with solid-organ transplantation, our data suggest that other patients may also be susceptible to such infections, especially those in an ICU who are deemed to be critically ill. This supports the idea that critically ill surgical patients exist in an immunocompromised state. Surgical intensivists should be familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of Aspergillus infections even in the absence of an active transplant program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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