Trends and outcomes of fungal infections in hospitalized patients of inflammatory bowel disease: a nationwide analysis

Transl Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Jul 5;5:35. doi: 10.21037/tgh.2019.10.14. eCollection 2020.


Background: Immunosuppressive therapy is being increasingly used in the management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which comprises of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Patients on immunosuppressive therapy are at increased risk of developing opportunistic fungal infections. We conducted this analysis to describe the epidemiology of opportunistic fungal infections in this cohort.

Methods: We analyzed the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database for all subjects with discharge diagnosis of IBD (UC and Crohn's disease) & Fungal infections (Histoplasmosis, Pneumocystosis, Cryptococcosis, Aspergillosis, Blastomycosis, candidiasis, Coccidioidomycosis) as primary or secondary diagnosis via ICD 9 codes during the period from 2002-2014.

Results: In UC, the incidence of all fungal infections was more in age above 50 (except for pneumoconiosis) male gender (except Candidiasis) and in Caucasians. In CD, the incidence was more in age above 50 (except Pneumocystosis, Blastomycosis & Coccidioidomycosis), female gender (except Histoplasmosis, Pneumocystosis & Cryptococcosis) and in Caucasians. Histoplasmosis and Blastomycosis were more prevalent in Midwest, Cryptococcosis and Candidiasis in South, Coccidioidomycosis in west in both UC and CD. Age above 50, south region, HIV, Congestive heart failure, underlying malignancies, diabetes mellitus with complications, chronic pulmonary disease, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, collagen vascular disease, pulmonary circulation disorders, weight loss were significant predictors of fungal infections in IBD. The yearly trend showed a consistent small rise in incidence, and the mortality dropped till 2006 to peak again in 2008 with a subsequent decline.

Conclusions: Our study is the first one to describe the basic demographics features and characteristics of opportunistic fungal infections in hospitalized patients with IBD. The yearly incidence of fungal infections did not show a significant rise. The mortality increased between 2006-2008 and a significant difference remains between IBD patients with and without fungal infections. One explanation of rise in mortality but a consistent incidence could be due to the use of biologics that did not increase but compromised the ability of IBD patients to fight opportunistic fungal infections.

Keywords: Fungal infections; inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); national inpatient sample.