Aspergillosis is an invasive infection that affects mainly immunocompromised patients, and the lung is the most common site of infection. We reviewed our experience with the surgical management of pulmonary aspergillosis (PA) in pediatric population at a tertiary care institution.
A retrospective chart review was conducted for pediatric patients (<16 years) who were managed for PA over the period from January 2001 to December 2016. Demographic, clinical, and outcome data were retrieved, and descriptive data were generated.
Eighty patients had microbiologically-proven PA over the period of the study, and 38 of them (48%) had a surgical intervention during their management. Among the surgical group, there were 19 males and 19 females with a mean age of 9.4 years (0.5-16). Thirty-five patients (92%) were in an immunocompromised state (10 of them have had bone marrow transplant), 2 patients had cystic lung disease, and 1 had scleroderma. All had fever and respiratory symptoms at presentation and received systemic antifungal medications. All had Computerized tomography (CT) scan examinations which showed features suggestive of the disease. Surgical procedures included lung biopsy in 13 patients (34%), segmentectomy in 12 patients (32%), lobectomy in 8 patients (21%), debridement/cavernostomy in 3 patients (8%), and 2 patients had pneumonectomy (5%). Histopathological examination revealed invasive fungal infection in 20 patients (53%) and aspergilloma in 18 (47%). Eleven patients (29%) died owing to a combination of fungal infection and the underlying disease. Three other patients, not included in the surgical series, died secondary to severe pulmonary hemorrhage while waiting for surgery. All had cavitation on CT scan near the hilum of the lung.
Pulmonary aspergillosis is a severe invasive infection with a significant mortality. Early surgical intervention is recommended in patients who do not improve on antifungal medication, especially in those with cavitating lesions, in order to improve outcome.
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