Background and aims: The association between allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and aspergilloma has been proposed as a severe form of ABPA. However, this conclusion is based on single-patient case reports. In this study, we describe the clinical details and immunological findings of this association and compare patients of ABPA with aspergilloma and those without.
Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of data of patients with ABPA managed in the Chest Clinic. We compared the clinical, radiological and immunological profile of patients with ABPA and central bronchiectasis, with and without the presence of aspergilloma on HRCT scan.
Results: There were 98 men and 81 women with a mean (SD) age of 33.6 (12.2) years. Eight patients were diagnosed to have aspergilloma. Sputum cultures grew Aspergillus fumigatus in all these eight patients. The aspergilloma was solitary in six patients, and two each in two patients. Patients with aspergilloma had higher IgE levels (both total and A. fumigatus specific) than those without aspergilloma. Bronchiectasis was also more extensive in patients with aspergilloma. Overall, 70 % of the ABPA patients experienced relapse during the median (interquartile range) follow-up of 27 (19-39) months. The number of relapses was significantly higher in patients with aspergilloma (p = 0.0001). On a multivariate linear regression analysis, high-attenuation mucus and aspergilloma were independent predictors of relapse frequency.
Conclusions: The concurrent presentation of ABPA and aspergilloma is associated with an immunologically severe disease and risk of recurrent relapses.