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What is Invasive Candidiasis?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Invasive candidiasis is a fungal infection found in the bloodstream. It is most commonly found in individuals with deficient immune systems although HIV and AIDS patients do not appear to experience higher rates of infection by its precursor, candidemia. Cancer patients, however, as well as patients using intravenous catheters and heroin addicts are highly prone to developing various forms of invasive candidiasis.

Invasive candidiasis spreads throughout the bloodstream and often settles in various organs. As it affects the organs, it also causes complications such as organ failure and lesions. This particular fungal infection also contributes to other ailments, including arthritis, pneumonia, peritonitis and candidal endocarditis, a deadly fungal infection of the heart often referred to as a heart infection.

Invasive candidiasis is characterized in very distinct types as it affects specific patients. The most common type is found among catheter users. In this population, a fungal infection may begin to form at the catheter’s site and is significantly reduced once the catheter is removed. It is not usually completely cured by its removal, however, and further drug treatment is commonly needed before the infection is fully eradicated.

A more acute form of this fungal infection may also originate from a catheter’s presence. At an acute stage, however, it begins to rapidly spread to one or more nearby organs. When this occurs, removal of the catheter helps, but a more rigorous drug treatment is necessary to completely cure the infection.

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Hepatosplenic candidiasis is another type of invasive candidiasis, which affects leukemia patients as a result of treatment for the disease. This particular type of fungal infection often results in death due to its affect on the organs, specifically the liver. Although it can be fatal, many who receive lengthy and intense antifungal therapy can and do recover from hepatosplenic candidiasis.

Invasive candidiasis is known to commonly affect different parts of the body and can even affect multiple bones, joints and organs simultaneously. In very rare cases, individuals with deficient immune systems may also develop a fungal infection in the brain or the nerves. This particular form is known as candidal meningitis and is known to affect both adults and children. Symptoms of this type of fungal infection are often confused with tuberculous meningitis and, although it is a treatable infection, it can also be deadly if symptoms are not diagnosed early enough for appropriate and intensive drug intervention.

Invasive candidiasis is so named due to its invasive nature. Different from any other yeast-like fungus infection, such as those affecting the skin and nail beds, invasive candidiasis goes deep beneath the surface of the skin, spreading quickly and wreaking havoc on one or more organs along the way.

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