Objective: To examine the incidence, epidemiology, and clinical characteristics of candidemia in a pediatric intensive care unit.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary care teaching and referral hospital in north India.
Subjects: All patients with candidemia from March 1993 to December 1996.
Interventions: Patient-related data were analyzed to study candidemia in relation to reason for fungal culture, underlying medical conditions, predisposing factors, Candida isolates, antimicrobial and antifungal treatment, and deaths.
Measurements and main results: Sixty-four patients with candidemia were identified. The Candida species isolated were Candida tropicalis (48.4%), C. albicans (29.7%), C. guillermondii (14.1%), C. krusei (6.3%), and C. glabrata (1.6%). Thirty-three patients were detected by a high-risk surveillance blood culture, whereas 31 patients were detected while undergoing septic workup. Sixteen (25%) patients were asymptomatic; they recovered without any antifungal therapy and without any sequelae. Of 48 symptomatic patients, 11 died before institution of antifungal therapy; 37 received oral itraconazole (10 mg.kg(-1).day(-1)). Seven (19%) of these 37 patients died. Those who recovered had sterile culture on average by day 14 (range, 4-30) and received the antifungal therapy on average for 24 days (range, 9-42 days). Overall mortality rate was 28.1%, and bivariate analysis showed significant association with Pediatric Risk of Mortality score (p =.0001), presence of symptoms (p =.003), isolation of nonalbicans Candida in general (p =.04) and C. tropicalis specifically (p =.001), and failure to give presumptive antifungal therapy (p =.055). On multivariate analysis, Pediatric Risk of Mortality score and isolation of C. tropicalis were the only significant predictors of mortality.
Conclusions: Nonalbicans Candida accounted for 70% of candidemia in a pediatric intensive care unit. High-risk surveillance blood cultures aided diagnosis in about half the patients. Severity of illness and isolation of C. tropicalis were significant predictors of mortality.