Management of pulmonary aspergillosis in children: a systematic review

Ital J Pediatr. 2023 Mar 28;49(1):39. doi: 10.1186/s13052-023-01440-9.


Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a severe condition in immunocompromised children, but the optimal management is still under debate. In order to better clarify this issue, a literature search was performed through MEDLINE/PubMed database to describe current risk factors and diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic tools for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) in the paediatric age. Observational studies and clinical trials regarding diagnosis, treatment and prophylaxis were considered, and results were summarised. Five clinical trials and 25 observational studies (4453 patients) were included.Haematological malignancies, previous organ transplant and other primary or acquired immunodeficiency were identified as risk factors for IPA in children.Current diagnostic criteria distinguish between "proven", "probable" and "possible" disease. Consecutive galactomannan assays have good sensitivity and specificity, especially when performed on broncho-alveolar lavage. At the same time, β-D-glucan should not be used since cut-off in children is unclear. PCR assays cannot currently be recommended for routine use.Voriconazole is the recommended first-line agent for IPA in children older than 2 years of age. Liposomal amphotericin B is preferred in younger patients or cases of intolerance to voriconazole. Its plasma concentrations should be monitored throughout the treatment. The optimal duration of therapy has yet to be determined. Posaconazole is the preferred prophylactic agent in children older than 13 years old, whereas oral voriconazole or itraconazole are the drugs of choice for those between 2-12 years. Further good-quality studies are warranted to improve clinical practice.

Keywords: Children; Galactomannan; PULMONARY aspergillosis; Voriconazole; β-D-glucan.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis* / diagnosis
  • Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis* / drug therapy
  • Mannans / analysis
  • Pulmonary Aspergillosis* / drug therapy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Voriconazole


  • Voriconazole
  • Mannans
  • Antifungal Agents