Rationale: Life-threatening intraabdominal candidiasis (IAC) occurs in 30 to 40% of high-risk surgical intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Although early IAC diagnosis is crucial, blood cultures are negative, and the role of Candida score/colonization indexes is not established.
Objectives: The aim of this prospective Fungal Infection Network of Switzerland (FUNGINOS) cohort study was to assess accuracy of 1,3-β-d-glucan (BG) antigenemia for diagnosis of IAC.
Methods: Four hundred thirty-four consecutive adults with abdominal surgery or acute pancreatitis and ICU stay 72 hours or longer were screened: 89 (20.5%) at high risk for IAC were studied (68 recurrent gastrointestinal tract perforation, 21 acute necrotizing pancreatitis). Diagnostic accuracy of serum BG (Fungitell), Candida score, and colonization indexes was compared.
Measurements and main results: Fifty-eight of 89 (65%) patients were colonized by Candida; 29 of 89 (33%) presented IAC (27 of 29 with negative blood cultures). Nine hundred twenty-one sera were analyzed (9/patient): median BG was 253 pg/ml (46-9,557) in IAC versus 99 pg/ml (8-440) in colonization (P < 0.01). Sensitivity and specificity of two consecutive BG measurements greater than or equal to 80 pg/ml were 65 and 78%, respectively. In recurrent gastrointestinal tract perforation it was 75 and 77% versus 90 and 38% (Candida score ≥ 3), 79 and 34% (colonization index ≥ 0.5), and 54 and 63% (corrected colonization index ≥ 0.4), respectively. BG positivity anticipated IAC diagnosis (5 d) and antifungal therapy (6 d). Severe sepsis/septic shock and death occurred in 10 of 11 (91%) and 4 of 11 (36%) patients with BG 400 pg/ml or more versus 5 of 18 (28%, P = 0.002) and 1 of 18 (6%, P = 0.05) with BG measurement less than 400 pg/ml. β-Glucan decreased in IAC responding to therapy and increased in nonresponse.
Conclusions: BG antigenemia is superior to Candida score and colonization indexes and anticipates diagnosis of blood culture-negative IAC. This proof-of-concept observation in strictly selected high-risk surgical ICU patients deserves investigation of BG-driven preemptive therapy.