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Invasive aspergillosis in children

Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-3468(87)80206-3
  • Aspergillosis
  • Medicine


Aspergillosis may complicate the course of the child in an immunocompromised state. When sinus or pulmonary infections present in immunocompromised children, one third of these patients are diagnosed accurately premortem as resulting from aspergillosis and two thirds remain undiagnosed. Mortality remains quite high, despite prompt treatment. Four children in our hospital during the last 4 years have had invasive aspergillosis presenting other than sinus or pulmonary infections. Each presented with extensive soft tissue infection. Three presented after traumatic devascularizing injuries to the leg in which massive soil and fecal contamination occurred. One child presented with absolute neutropenia secondary to treatment of acute lymphocytic leukemia. The child had a chest wall lesion develop at the site of an EKG electrode. All patients had a punctate black skin lesion with a halo of intense erythema surrounded by a zone of blanching. These lesions rapidly expanded. Initial extensive debridement of the lesions, combined with systemic chemotherapy with amphotericin B failed to halt the progression of the disease. Histology showed vascular invasion with hyphal forms. Each patient then responded well to radical debridement (three hemipelvectomies and one chest wall resection). The child in an immunocompromised state who develops a red papule, then a black eschar with surrounding erythema, should have immediate biopsy that can easily demonstrate the characteristic hyphal forms. Early radical surgical debridement and antifungal therapy can be lifesaving. The initial debridement should include tissues well beyond any apparent involvement.

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