Objective: To describe the clinical characteristics, treatment, and outcomes of cryptococcosis in HIV-negative patients.
Methods: HIV-negative adult patients with positive culture for Cryptococcus neoformans who attended Ramathibodi Hospital between 1987 and 2003 were retrospectively reviewed.
Results: During the 17 year review period, 40 HIV-negative patients with cryptococcosis were identified. Of these, 37 patients had medical records available for study. The mean age was 49+/-18 (range 16-83) years and 73% were female. Twenty-four patients (65%) had associated underlying conditions. The most common associated conditions included immunosuppressive drug treatment (41%), presence of systemic lupus erythematosus (16%), malignancies (16%), and diabetes mellitus (14%). C. neoformans was mainly recovered from cerebrospinal fluid (32%), blood (28%), and sputum/bronchoalveolar lavage/lung tissue (28%). Twenty-three patients (62%) had disseminated cryptococcosis. Six of 14 patients with cryptococcal meningitis were asymptomatic. About half of the patients were treated with amphotericin B and subsequent fluconazole. Five patients (14%) were initially misdiagnosed and treated for tuberculosis or bacterial infection. The overall mortality rate was 27%.
Conclusions: Cryptococcosis is not rare in HIV-negative patients. The mortality rate is high. Early recognition of cryptococcosis and use of appropriate antifungal therapy in these patients may improve clinical outcomes.