Clinical features of invasive bronchial-pulmonary aspergillosis in critically ill patients with chronic obstructive respiratory diseases: a prospective study

Crit Care. 2011;15(1):R5. doi: 10.1186/cc9402. Epub 2011 Jan 6.


Introduction: Critically ill patients with chronic obstructive respiratory diseases (CORD) who require intensive care unit (ICU) admission are at particular risk for invasive bronchial-pulmonary aspergillosis (IBPA). The purpose of this study is to investigate clinical features for rapid recognition of IBPA in critically ill patients with CORD.

Methods: We included 55 consecutive CORD patients in a respiratory ICU in a prospective, single-center, cohort study. In this study, IBPA combined two entities: ATB and IPA.

Results: Thirteen of 55 patients were diagnosed with IBPA. Before ICU admission, three variables were independent predictors of IBPA with statistical significance: more than three kinds of antibiotics used before the ICU admission, accumulated doses of corticosteroids (>350 mg) received before the ICU admission, and APACHE II scores >18 (OR, 1.208; P = 0.022; OR, 8.661; P = 0.038; and OR, 19.488; P = 0.008, respectively). After ICU admission, more IBPA patients had a high fever (>38.5 °C) (46.2% versus 11.9%; P = 0.021), wheeze without exertion (84.6% versus 50.0%; P = 0.027), dry rales (84.6% versus 40.4%; P = 0.005), higher white blood cell counts (21 × 109/L versus 9.4 × 109/L; P = 0.012), lower mean arterial pressures (77.9 mm Hg versus 90.5 mm Hg; P = 0.019), and serum creatinine clearances (36.2 ml/min versus 68.8 ml/min; P < 0.001), and liver-function and coagulation abnormalities. Bronchospasm, sputum ropiness, and plaque formation were more common for IBPA patients during bronchoscopy (66.7% versus 14.3%; P = 0.082; 18% versus 0; P = 0.169; and 73% versus 13%; P = 0.003, respectively). More IBPA patients had nodules and patchiness on chest radiograph on day 1 of admission, which rapidly progressed to consolidation on day 7. IBPA mortality was higher than that of non-IBPA patients (69.2% versus 16.7%; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: IBPA may be suspected in critically ill CORD patients with respiratory failure and clinical and bronchoscopic manifestations of severe infection, bronchospasm, and rapid progression of radiologic lesions that are irresponsive to steroids and antibiotics. To avoid misdiagnosis and establish the microbiologic etiology, early bronchoscopy and tight radiologic follow-up should be performed.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Illness
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis / diagnosis*
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*