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Invasive fungal infections in neutropenic enterocolitis: A systematic analysis of pathogens, incidence, treatment and mortality in adult patients

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-6-35

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Here, we conducted a metaanalysis to answer the questions: What are frequency and mortality of fungal neutropenic enterocolitis? Do frequencies and microbiological distribution of causative fungi support empirical antimycotic therapy? Do reported results of antimycotic therapy in documented fungal neutropenic enterocolitis help with the selection of appropriate drugs? Following a systematic search, we extracted and summarised all detail data from the complete literature.Among 186 articles describing patients with neutropenic enterocolitis, we found 29 reports describing 53 patients with causative fungal pathogens. We found no randomised controlled trial, no good quality cohort study and no good quality case control study on the role of antifungal treatment. The pooled frequency of fungal neutropenic enterocolitis was 6.2% calculated from all 860 reported patients and 3.4% calculated from selected representative studies only. In 94% of the patients, Candida spp. were involved. The pooled mortality rate was 81.8%. Most authors did not report or perform antifungal therapy.In patients with neutropenic enterocolitis, fungal pathogens play a relevant, but secondary role compared to bacteria. Evidence concerning therapy is very poor, but epidemiological data from this study may provide helpful clues to select empiric antifungal therapy in neutropenic enterocolitis.Neutropenic enterocolitis is the most important and a highly life-threatening abdominal infection in neutropenic patients. This complication most frequently occurs after intensive chemotherapy in acute leukaemias. The pooled incidence, derived from all available studies, was calculated to be 5.3% in patients hospitalised for haematological malignancies, for high- dose chemotherapy in solid tumors or for aplastic anaemia [1]. The literature provides generally poor evidence on the treatment of neutropenic enterocolitis.In a previous systematic review, we could not find prospective trials nor case control studies on


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