Pulmonary Aspergillosis: What the Generalist Needs to Know.


El-Baba F, Gao Y, Soubani AO.
Am J Med. 2020 Mar 30. pii: S0002-9343(20)30213-8.


Aspergillus spp. is a ubiquitous mold found commonly in our environment that can cause a spectrum of pulmonary disorders, ranging from a hypersensitivity reaction to an acutely invasive disease with significant mortality. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis results from airway hypersensitivity from aspergillus colonization almost exclusively in patients with asthma and cystic fibrosis. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis typically presents in immunocompetent patients with underlying lung pathology. Treatment is primarily with antifungal agents; however, other measures such as surgical resection may be necessary. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a severe infection in immunocompromised patients and is characterized by invasion of pulmonary vasculature by the Aspergillus hyphae. Recent advances in the diagnosis and management of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis include emerging risk factors such as critically ill patients, and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and liver disease. In addition, noninvasive biomarkers have made it easier to suspect and diagnose invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. There are more effective and better-tolerated antifungal agents that have improved patient outcomes. This review introduces the spectrum of pulmonary aspergillosis geared toward generalists, including disease manifestations, most recent diagnostic criteria, and first-line treatment options. Involving a multidisciplinary team is vital to the early diagnosis and management of these diseases.