Outcomes and factors influencing prognosis in patients with vascular pythiosis

J Vasc Surg. 2016 Aug;64(2):411-417. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2015.12.024. Epub 2016 Mar 4.


Objective: Vascular pythiosis, caused by Pythium insidiosum, is associated with a high mortality rate. We reviewed the outcomes and established the factors predicting prognosis of patients treated in our institution with surgery, antifungal therapy, or immunotherapy.

Methods: We undertook a retrospective record review of patients with vascular pythiosis treated in Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, between January 2005 and January 2015. Patient characteristics, type of surgery, adjunctive antifungal treatment, adjunctive immunotherapy, and disease status of surgical arterial and surrounding soft tissue margins were recorded. We calculated the mortality rate and established factors predicting prognosis.

Results: The records of 11 patients were reviewed. All patients had thalassemia. Nine patients (81.8%) had a history of contact with contaminated water. The clinical presentations were chronic ulcers (45.5%), toe gangrene (27.3%), pulsatile mass (27.3%), and acute limb ischemia (27.3%). Above-knee amputation was required in 10 patients (90.9%). The mortality rate was 36.4%. Independent variables between survivors and nonsurvivors were lack of an arterial disease-free surgical margin (P = .003), lack of a surrounding soft tissue disease-free surgical margin (P < .05), a suprainguinal lesion (P < .05) and duration of symptoms (P < .05). Adjuvant itraconazole, terbinafine, and Pythium vaccine have a role to play in patients with a disease-free arterial surgical margin but in whom infected surrounding soft tissue could not be completely excised.

Conclusions: Achieving adequate disease-free surgical margins-especially the arterial margin-at amputation or débridement is the most important prognostic factor in patients with vascular pythiosis. Early detection combined with a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, including surgery, antifungal agents, and immunotherapy, allows the best possible outcome to be obtained.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amputation, Surgical* / adverse effects
  • Amputation, Surgical* / mortality
  • Antifungal Agents / adverse effects
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Computed Tomography Angiography
  • Debridement* / adverse effects
  • Debridement* / mortality
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / mortality
  • Male
  • Margins of Excision
  • Middle Aged
  • Parasitology / methods
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pythiosis / diagnosis
  • Pythiosis / mortality
  • Pythiosis / parasitology
  • Pythiosis / therapy*
  • Pythium / isolation & purification*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thailand
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Vascular Diseases / mortality
  • Vascular Diseases / parasitology
  • Vascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Young Adult


  • Antifungal Agents