Candidal infection in the central nervous system

Am J Med. 1984 Jan;76(1):101-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(84)90757-5.


Candida has become the most prevalent cerebral mycosis at autopsy, indicating a significant incidence coupled with inadequate eradication. Of 29 patients with systemic candidiasis, 48 percent (14 of 29) also had central nervous system involvement. Of these patients, however, only 21 percent (three of 14) had antemortem diagnosis, and only one of these three patients remains alive; the two patients with antemortem diagnosis who died had a meningeal form that, although easier to document on the basis of cerebrospinal fluid examination, is now distinctly rarer than other forms of the disease in adults. The lone surviving patient was treated with amphotericin B for endocarditis and mycotic aneurysms of the cerebral vessels. One clue to central nervous system candidal infection was the striking correlation between cardiac and cerebral involvement; 80 percent of patients with myocardial or valve infection also had central nervous system candidiasis. Most forms of immunosuppression represent a risk factor for both the systemic and cerebral mycoses. Neuropathologically, there is a spectrum of disease entities associated with Candida, including two previously unrecognized lesions reported herein: fungus balls of both white and gray matter and mycotic aneurysms secondary to Candida parapsilosis. Other parenchymal presentations include thrombosis, vasculitis, abscess, hemorrhage, and demyelination. For drug therapy such as amphotericin B to be more effective, earlier diagnosis of these parenchymal infections must be sought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Brain Diseases / pathology*
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis / pathology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / pathology
  • Heart Valve Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Amphotericin B