Opportunistic fungal pneumonia

J Thorac Imaging. 1999 Jan;14(1):51-62. doi: 10.1097/00005382-199901000-00005.


Opportunistic fungal infection is a common cause of serious morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. These infections occur primarily in patients with chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. or immunosuppression after solid organ or bone marrow transplantation. The most important opportunistic fungal pathogens include Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida and Aspergillus species, and the fungi that cause mucormycosis. Opportunistic pneumonia caused by previously unrecognized pathogens, such as Fusarium, Penicillium, and the dematiaceous fungi, are increasingly reported. The clinical and radiologic features of opportunistic fungal pneumonia are highly variable and often nonspecific. Diagnosis requires knowledge of the various modes of presentation, radiologic manifestations, and epidemiology of these infections. Because many of these organisms can colonize the upper airway, sputum cultures are considered diagnostically unreliable. Instead, definitive diagnosis requires culture of the fungus from infected tissue or demonstration of the organism on microscopic examination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis
  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis
  • Cryptococcosis / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Fusarium
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / adverse effects
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / diagnosis*
  • Mucormycosis / diagnosis
  • Neutropenia / chemically induced
  • Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis*
  • Organ Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Penicillium
  • Pneumonia / microbiology*