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Mycoses ; 64(6): 641-650, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091024


BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of COVID-19 associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA) has been reported, though histopathological evidence is frequently lacking. To assess the clinical significance of Aspergillus species in respiratory samples of mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients, we implemented routine screening for Aspergillus in tracheal aspirate (TA). PATIENTS/METHODS: From all adult COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), TA samples were collected twice a week for Aspergillus screening by PCR and or culture. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) sampling was performed in patients with a positive screening result if possible. Clinical information was obtained from the electronic patient record and patients were categorised according to the recently published consensus case definition for CAPA. RESULTS: Our study population consisted of 63 predominantly (73%) male patients, with a median age of 62 years and total median ICU stay of 18 days. Aspergillus species were present in TA screening samples from 15 patients (24%), and probable CAPA was diagnosed in 11 (17%) patients. Triazole resistance was detected in one patient (14%). Concordance between TA and BAL was 86%, and all TA culture positives were confirmed in BAL. We were able to withhold treatment in three of fifteen patients with positive screening (20%) but negative BAL results. CONCLUSIONS: Positive culture, molecular detection and or antigen detection of Aspergillus species do not equal infection. Until we understand the clinical relevance of Aspergillus species detected in respiratory samples of COVID-19 patients, minimal-invasive screening by TA is a feasible method to monitor patients. Positive screening results should be an indication to perform a BAL to rule out upper airway colonisation.

COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/microbiology , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/diagnosis , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/virology , Aged , Aspergillus/genetics , Aspergillus/isolation & purification , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/drug therapy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2