Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 588–594
Gut invasive aspergillosis is an extremely rare infection in immunocompromised patients. The goal of this retrospective multicentre study is to report on cases of gut aspergillosis in haematology patients, including clinical presentation, risk factors, and outcome. Twenty-one patients from nine centres were identified. Eight had isolated gut aspergillosis, with no evidence of other infected sites, and 13 had disseminated aspergillosis. Thirteen patients had acute leukaemia. Nine were allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients. Clinical symptoms and imaging were poorly specific. The galactomannan antigenaemia test result was positive in 16/25 (64%) patients, including in four of the eight cases of isolated gut aspergillosis. Five of 21 patients had a dietary regimen rich in spices, suggesting that, in these cases, food could have been the source of gut colonization, and then of a primary gut Aspergillus lesion. The diagnosis was made post-mortem in six patients. The mortality rate in the remaining patients at 12 weeks was 7/15 (47%). Gut aspergillosis is probably misdiagnosed and underestimated in haematology patients, owing to the poor specificity of symptoms and imaging. Patients with a persistently positive galactomannan antigenaemia finding that is unexplained by respiratory lesions should be suspected of having gut aspergillosis in the presence of abdominal symptoms, and be quickly investigated. In the absence of severe abdominal complications leading to surgery and resection of the lesions, the optimal treatment is not yet defined.