Opportunistic Candida Infections in Critical COVID-19 Patients

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Altinkaya Çavuş M., Sav H.

Polish journal of microbiology, vol.71, no.3, pp.411-419, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 71 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.33073/pjm-2022-036
  • Journal Name: Polish journal of microbiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.411-419
  • Keywords: opportunistic Candida infections, COVID-19, critical care, BLOOD-STREAM INFECTIONS, ASSOCIATION, SEPSIS
  • Kayseri University Affiliated: No


© 2022 Mine Altınkaya Çavuş and Hafize Sav, published by Sciendo.The frequency of opportunistic fungal infections in critically ill patients whose intensive care unit stays are prolonged due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is higher than in the period before COVID-19. We planned this study to improve the management of Candida infections by defining the Candida species, the etiology of infections caused by Candida species, and the antifungal susceptibility of the species. This retrospective study included patients older than 18 hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) with a definitive diagnosis of COVID-19 for seven months (from March 2021 to September 2021). All study data that we recorded in a standard study form were analyzed with TURCOSA (Turcosa Analytics Ltd. Co., Turkey, www.turcosa.com.tr) statistical software. The patients were evaluated in four groups as group 1 (candidemia patients, n = 78), group 2 (candiduria patients, n = 189), group 3 (control patients, n = 57), and group 4 (patients with candidemia in urine cultures taken before Candida was detected in blood culture, n = 42). Candida species were identified using both conventional and VITEK® 2 (BioMérieux, France) methods. The antifungal susceptibility of fungi was determined using the E test method. Of the 5,583 COVID-19 patients followed during the study period, 78 developed candidemia, and 189 developed candiduria. The incidence of candidemia (per 1,000 admissions) was determined to be 1.6. As a result of statistical analysis, we found that Candida albicans was the dominant strain in candidemia and candiduria, and there was no antifungal resistance except for naturally resistant strains. Candida strains grown in blood and urine were the same in 40 of 42 patients. Mortality was 69.2% for group 1, 60.4% for group 2, and 57.8% for group 3. Antifungals were used in 34 (43.5%) patients from group 1, and 95 (50.2%) from group 2. In the candidemia group without antifungal use, mortality was quite high (77.2%). Antifungal use reduced mortality in the group 2 (p < 0.05). Length of ICU stays, comorbidity, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and corticosteroids are independent risk factors for candidemia in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Our study contributes to the knowledge of risk factors for developing COVID-19-related candida infections. The effect of candiduria on the development of candidemia in critically ill COVID-19 patients should be supported by new studies.