Intra-abdominal fungal infections complicating acute pancreatitis: a review

Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Jul;106(7):1188-92. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2010.497.


Intra-abdominal infections of pancreatic or peripancreatic necrotic tissue complicate the clinical course of severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) and are associated with significant morbidity. Fungal infection of necrotic pancreatic tissue is increasingly being reported. The incidence of intra-abdominal pancreatic fungal infection (PFI) varies from 5% to 68.5%. Candida albicans is the most frequently isolated fungus in patients with necrotizing pancreatitis. Prolonged use of prophylactic antibiotics, prolonged placement of chronic indwelling devices, and minimally invasive or surgical interventions for pancreatic fluid collections further increase the risk of PFI. Computed tomography- or ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of pancreatic necrosis is a safe, reliable method for establishing pancreatic infection. Amphotericin B appears to be the most effective antifungal treatment. Drainage and debridement of infected necrosis are also critical for eradication of fungi from the poorly perfused pancreatic or peripancreatic tissues where the antifungal agents may not reach to achieve therapeutic levels. Fungal infection adversely affects the outcome of patients with SAP and is associated with increased morbidity, although the mortality rate is not increased specifically because of PFI. Although antifungal prophylaxis has been suggested for patients on broad-spectrum antibiotics, no randomized controlled trials have yet studied its efficacy in preventing PFI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis / epidemiology*
  • Candidiasis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / complications*
  • Risk Factors