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Thirty randomly selected patients with advanced chronic liver disease, which had been evaluated for possible liver transplantation, were sampled endoscopically at 7 alimentary tract locations to assess the frequency and amount of Candida carriage. Eightyone percent (127/156) of the samples obtained contained Candida and 53% (82/156) yielded high counts (>300 CFU/ml). The most predominant Candida species isolated at each site was Candida albicana, which accounted for 103 (64%) of the 160 fungal isolates. The other Candida species isolated included C tropicalis 30 (19%), C krusei 16 (10%), and C glabrata 11 (7%).

Although the number of sites at which yeast was present and the quantities of yeast at each site varied widely among the patients studied, 100% of the patients had Candida in at least one site of the gastrointestinal tract. Eighty-six percent (24/28) of the duodenal aspirates contained Candida and 50% (14/28) of the duodenal samples contained greater than 300 CFU/ml. A positive culture from the stomach was a reliable predictor of the presence of Candida in the duodenum (P=0.0001), but a positive culture at no other site readily predicted the presence of Candida at yet another site. Importantly, there was no correlation between the presence or absence of Candida in either oral or rectal swabs and colonization at other anatomic sites within the gastrointestinal tract.

These findings are important in liver transplantation, particularly in those cases in which the bowel has been opened to create a choledochojejunostomy anastomosis. The operative attempts to reduce gastrointestinal fungal carriage using oral antifungal agents may be justified before liver transplantation in an effort to lower the risk of posttransplantation fungal infections, particularly in those patients expected to have a Roux-en-Y choledochojejunostomy biliary reconstruction.

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