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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Candidemia in the critically ill: initial therapy and outcome in mechanically ventilated patients

Marcela A Ferrada1, Andrew A Quartin124, Daniel H Kett12 and Michele I Morris13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, 1120 N.W. 14th Avenue, (R-21), Clinical Research Building, Room 842, Miami, FL 33136, USA

2 Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA

3 Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1120 N.W. 14th Avenue, (R-21), Clinical Research Building, Room 842, Miami, FL 33136, USA

4 Critical Care Medicine (111), Miami VA Hospital, 1201 N.W. 16th St, Miami, FL 33125, USA

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BMC Anesthesiology 2013, 13:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-37

Published: 30 October 2013



Mortality among critically ill patients with candidemia is very high. We sought to determine whether the choice of initial antifungal therapy is associated with survival among these patients, using need for mechanical ventilatory support as a marker of critical illness.


Cohort analysis of outcomes among mechanically ventilated patients with candidemia from the 24 North American academic medical centers contributing to the Prospective Antifungal Therapy (PATH) Alliance registry. Patients were included if they received either fluconazole or an echinocandin as initial monotherapy.


Of 5272 patients in the PATH registry at the time of data abstraction, 1014 were ventilated and concomitantly had candidemia, with 689 eligible for analysis. 28-day survival was higher among the 374 patients treated initially with fluconazole than among the 315 treated with an echinocandin (66% versus 51%, P < .001). Initial fluconazole therapy remained associated with improved survival after adjusting for non-treatment factors in the overall population (hazard ratio .75, 95% CI .59–.96), and also among patients with albicans infection (hazard ratio .62, 95% CI .44–.88). While not statistically significant, fluconazole appeared to be associated with higher mortality among patients infected with glabrata (HR 1.13, 95% CI .70–1.84).


Among ventilated patients with candidemia, those receiving fluconazole as initial monotherapy were significantly more likely to survive than those treated with an echinocandin. This difference persisted after adjustment for non-treatment factors.

Candidemia; Mechanical ventilation; Intensive care; Azoles; Echinocandins