Invasive aspergillosis in pediatric patients.
This case-based review examines the growing literature on critical issues related to the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric invasive aspergillosis. Immunocompromised children are at heightened risk for invasive aspergillosis. Children at highest risk include those with new-onset or relapsed hematologic malignancy and recipients of allogeneic stem cell transplants. Additional risk factors in stem cell transplant recipients include impaired lymphocyte engraftment and graft-versus-host disease. Pediatric invasive aspergillosis is associated with a high mortality rate (generally >50%) and requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent dissemination and death. Tools available for diagnosis include radiologic examinations (primarily computed tomography), the galactomannan assay, bronchoalveolar lavage, and tissue biopsy. Age-related differences in computed tomography and galactomannan assay results have been suggested. Recommended primary therapy for pediatric invasive aspergillosis is voriconazole (7 mg/kg IV q12 hours). Currently approved alternative therapies include liposomal amphotericin B, amphotericin B lipid complex, and caspofungin. Posaconazole and itraconazole are also possibilities, but there is no established pediatric dose for posaconazole, and itraconazole dosing is difficult in children. In patients who do not benefit from initial antifungal therapy, options include switching to another agent with a different mechanism of action or combination therapy. Further research is required to better establish optimal approaches to the management of pediatric patients with invasive aspergillosis recalcitrant to initial primary therapy.
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