Fungal Infections in the Intensive Care Unit
There is a growing awareness among surgeons and critical care physicians of the role that fungal infections play in the outcome of patient admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). In fact, some physicians are so concerned about the increased morbidity and mortality of fungal infections they
are giving patients antibiotics to prevent the initial infection (prophylaxis), instead of treating the infection after it develops. This has been proven to be an effective strategy in patients whose immune function is diminished, such as patients who have received organ transplants or patient with HIV/AIDS. Some surgeons are now giving antibiotics to patients that are not immunocompromised.
The most common antibiotic given to fight the development of fungal infections is the azole antibiotic fluconazole, also known under the brand name of Diflucan. In addition to fighting the most common fungus Candida albicans, it appears that fluconazole also has anti-inflammatory properties, apart from its antibiotic properties. However, opponents of the use of prophylactic fluconazole argue that the risk of developing drug-resistant fungi like Candida glabrata outweighs the gain of starting the antibiotic before the presence of fungus is proven through a positive culture.
Copyright 2006 Insidesurgery.com