PURPOSE: To describe concisely the current standards of care, major recent advances, common beliefs that have been contradicted by recent trials, areas of uncertainty, and clinical studies that need to be performed over the next decade and their expected outcomes with regard to Candida and Aspergillus infections in non-neutropenic patients in the ICU setting.
METHODS: A systematic review of the medical literature taking account of national and international guidelines and expert opinion.
RESULTS: Severe invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are becoming increasingly frequent in critically ill patients. Approximately 80% of IFIs are due to Candida spp. and 0.3-19% to Aspergillus spp. Recent observations emphasize the necessity of building a worldwide sentinel network to monitor the emergence of new fungal species and changes in susceptibility. Robust data on the attributable mortality are essential for the design of clinical studies with mortality endpoints. Although early antifungal therapy for Candida has been recommended in patients with risk factors, sepsis of unknown cause, and positive Candida serum biomarkers [β-1 → 3-D-glucan (BDG) and Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA)], its usefulness and influence on outcome need to be confirmed. Future studies may specifically address the optimal diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with abdominal candidiasis. Better knowledge of the pharmacokinetics of antifungal molecules and tissue penetration is a key issue for intensivists. Regarding invasive aspergillosis, further investigation is needed to determine its incidence in the ICU, its relationship with influenza outbreaks, the clinical impact of rapid diagnosis, and the significance of combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Fundamental questions regarding IFI have to be addressed over the next decade. The clinical studies described in this research agenda should provide a template and set priorities for the clinical investigations that need to be performed.
- Journal Article