Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are one of the most important infectious complications after liver transplantation, determining morbidity and mortality. Antimycotic prophylaxis may impede IFI, but a consensus on indication, agent, or duration is still missing. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the incidence
[...] Read more.
Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are one of the most important infectious complications after liver transplantation, determining morbidity and mortality. Antimycotic prophylaxis may impede IFI, but a consensus on indication, agent, or duration is still missing. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the incidence of IFIs under targeted echinocandin antimycotic prophylaxis in adult high-risk liver transplant recipients. We retrospectively reviewed all patients undergoing a deceased donor liver transplantation at the Medical University of Innsbruck in the period from 2017 to 2020. Of 299 patients, 224 met the inclusion criteria. We defined patients as being at high risk for IFI if they had two or more prespecified risk factors and these patients received prophylaxis. In total, 85% (190/224) of the patients were correctly classified according to the developed algorithm, being able to predict an IFI with a sensitivity of 89%. Although 83% (90/109) so defined high-risk recipients received echinocandin prophylaxis, 21% (23/109) still developed an IFI. The multivariate analysis identified the age of the recipient (hazard ratio—HR = 0.97, p
= 0.027), split liver transplantation (HR = 5.18, p
= 0.014), massive intraoperative blood transfusion (HR = 24.08, p
= 0.004), donor-derived infection (HR = 9.70, p
< 0.001), and relaparotomy (HR = 4.62, p
= 0.003) as variables with increased hazard ratios for an IFI within 90 days. The fungal colonization at baseline, high-urgency transplantation, posttransplant dialysis, bile leak, and early transplantation showed significance only in a univariate model. Notably, 57% (12/21) of the invasive Candida infections were caused by a non-albicans species, entailing a markedly reduced one-year survival. The attributable 90-day mortality rate of an IFI after a liver transplant was 53% (9/17). None of the patients with invasive aspergillosis survived. Despite targeted echinocandin prophylaxis, there is still a notable risk for IFI. Consequently, the prophylactic use of echinocandins must be critically questioned regarding the high rate of breakthrough infections, the increased occurrence of fluconazole-resistant pathogens, and the higher mortality rate in non-albicans Candida species. Adherence to the internal prophylaxis algorithms is of immense importance, bearing in mind the high IFI rates in case algorithms are not followed.