Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19684861
Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2009;4:279-87
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is an important cause of mortality in patients with hematologic malignancies. The reported incidence of IPA in the context of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) seems to increase. Approximately 1%-2% of overall fatal cases of IPA occur in COPD patients. The combination of factors such as lung immune imbalance, long-term corticosteroid use, increasing rate of bacterial exacerbations over time, and malnutrition are responsible for the emergence of IPA in these patients. The diagnosis of IPA is difficult to establish, which explains the delay in implementing accurate antifungal therapy and the high mortality rate. Persistent pneumonia nonresponsive to appropriate antibiotic treatment raises the concern of an invasive fungal infection. Definite diagnosis is obtained from tissue biopsy evidencing Aspergillus spp. on microscopic examination or in culture. Culture and microscopy of respiratory tract samples have a sensitivity and specificity of around 50%. Other diagnostic tools can be useful in documenting IPA: computed tomography (CT) scan, nonculture-based tests in serum and/or in bronchoalveolar lavage such as antibody/antigen tests for Aspergillus spp. More recent tools such as polymerase chain reaction or [1–>3]-beta-D-glucan have predictive values that need to be further investigated in COPD patients. Antifungal monotherapy using azole voriconazole is recommended as a first-line treatment of IPA. This review assesses the use of voriconazole in COPD patients.