• Aspergillosis

    Definition

    Aspergillus is a common type of fungus. It is found all over the world. Aspergillosis is an infection caused by this fungus. It can result in severe lung problems.
    While this type of infection is rare, it is more common in people with:
    Most of these condition weaken the immune system. The body is less able to fight off infections. In these cases, the fungus can spread to other organs. This can include the eye, sinuses, and brain. It is a serious condition that requires treatment.
    Another form of aspergillosis affects people with asthma :

    Causes

    Inhaling fungus spores can be the first step to aspergillosis.
    Inhalation of Spores
    Spores in lungs
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    Risk factors include:
    Asthma in Lungs
    Asthma lung
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Symptoms

    If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to aspergillosis. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
    • Chronic productive cough
    • Coughing up blood
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath
    • Wheezing

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist in lung diseases or infectious diseases. Tests may include the following:
    • Blood and urine samples
    • Sputum samples
    • Chest x-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the chest
    • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
    • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
    • Bronchoscopy —visual examination of the air passages leading into the lungs

    Treatment

    The underlying disease must be treated along with the aspergillosis. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
      Medicine
      • Intravenous Amphotericin B—given for a prolonged period of time; may damage the kidneys
      • Voriconazole —found to be highly effective for invasive aspergillosis and a preferred treatment option
      • Itraconazole —effective in some cases
    • Surgery—Part of the lung may need to be removed if it contains a large mass of fungus.

    Prevention

    Aspergillus is everywhere. High concentrations may be found in soil or compost. Mildew in bathrooms or other moist places may also contain this fungus. If you are at risk for getting aspergillus infection, try to avoid close contact with soil or compost and take steps to keep your home mildew-free.

    RESOURCES

    The Aspergillus Website http://www.aspergillus.org.uk/

    Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/home-accueil%5Fe.php/

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/

    References

    Aspergillosis. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamicmedical.com/dynamed.nsf?opendatabase . Updated November 1, 2010. Accessed January 22, 2011.

    Beers MH, Berkow R, eds. The Merck Manual . 17th ed. West Point, PA: Merck & Co;1999.

    Bennett JE. Aspergillosis. In: Kasper DL, et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005:1188-1190.

    Mandell GL, Bennet JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practices of Infectious Diseases . 6th ed. St. Louis, MD, Consult; 2005.

    Sherif R, Segal BH. Pulmonary aspergillosis: clinical presentation, diagnostic tests, management and complications. Current Opinions in Pulmonary Medicine. 2010;16(3):242-250.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.