Antifungal therapy and its use in surgical treatment.
Modern surgery continues to make significant therapeutic advances, and a major component in the adjunctive care allowing these improved procedures is the successful use of broad-spectrum antibacterials. However, the widespread administration of potent antibacterials and the frequent use of a variety of catheters, along with an increase in the number of immune compromised patients requiring invasive procedures, have allowed deep-seated mycoses to become more common. Nosocomial fungal infections are frequent, particularly in the urinary tract and in the blood. This rise in identified fungal infections, along with frequent empiric treatment of suspected infection, has significantly increased amphotericin B therapy in surgical services in the last five years. While amphotericin B remains the standard for treatment of nosocomial mycoses, other antifungal agents are available (flucytosine, miconazole, ketoconazole and fluconazole). Despite experience with the older agents and the development of new agents, many questions remain concerning the use of currently available antifungal treatments in postsurgical patients. The following discussion attempts to summarize the magnitude of the problem, the difficulties with diagnosis and laboratory evaluations, the characteristics of the antifungal agents and particular problems with antifungal treatment in surgery.
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