30 June 2021

Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is increasingly reported in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Therefore, Paul Verweij, theme Infectious diseases and global health, and colleagues set a goal to develop practical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA). This taskforce report is recently published in Intensive Care Medicine. 

Methods

A group of 28 international experts reviewed current insights in the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of CAPA and developed recommendations using GRADE methodology.

Results

The prevalence of CAPA varied between 0 and 33%, which may be partly due to variable case definitions, but likely represents true variation. Bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) remain the cornerstone of CAPA diagnosis, allowing for diagnosis of invasive Aspergillus tracheobronchitis and collection of the best validated specimen for Aspergillus diagnostics. Most patients diagnosed with CAPA lack traditional host factors, but pre-existing structural lung disease and immunomodulating therapy may predispose to CAPA risk. Computed tomography seems to be of limited value to rule CAPA in or out, and serum biomarkers are negative in 85% of patients. As the mortality of CAPA is around 50%, antifungal therapy is recommended for BAL positive patients, but the decision to treat depends on the patients' clinical condition and the institutional incidence of CAPA. We recommend against routinely stopping concomitant corticosteroid or IL-6 blocking therapy in CAPA patients.

Conclusion

CAPA is a complex disease involving a continuum of respiratory colonization, tissue invasion and angioinvasive disease. Knowledge gaps including true epidemiology, optimal diagnostic work-up, management strategies and role of host-directed therapy require further study.

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