Pulmonary Mucormycosis

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Mucormycosis (formerly zygomycosis) is a life-threatening opportunistic mycosis that infects a broad range of hosts with qualitative or quantitative defects in innate immunity, including patients with severe neutropenia, recipients of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus, and those with iron overload states. Mucormycosis has recently emerged as breakthrough sinopulmonary infection in hematologic patients and recipients of transplantation being on antifungal prophylaxis with Aspergillus-active antifungals that lack activity against Mucorales. Unlike pulmonary aspergillosis, the prognosis and outcome of pulmonary mucormycosis have not improved significantly over the last decade, mainly because of difficulties in early diagnosis and the limited activity of current antifungal agents against Mucorales. Recent evidence suggests a critical role for iron metabolism and fungal–endothelial cell interactions in pathogenesis of mucormycosis, and holds promise for development of novel therapeutic strategies. Currently, prompt initiation of antifungal therapy with a lipid amphotericin B–based regimen, reversal of underlying host factors, and aggressive surgical approach offers the best chances for survival of patients infected with this devastating mycosis.

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