Fungal Infection Trust

Aspergillus Funigatus meningitis CNS

My mother in law had surgery to remove a benign tumor behind her ear. About 10 days after her surgery she began having terrible headaches and fever. At the hospital they started treating her for a UTI, but with in hours she began losing strength in her legs, she became incontinent and she was having trouble speaking and her thoughts were all confused. We told the doctors and they finally did an LP and found meningitis. She was moved to ICU they started administering antibiotics through a pic line. Her fevers were very high and this lasted 5 weeks. During these 5 weeks they had to put a drain into her head to release fluid build up and also administer antibiotic directly in her head. Finally after 6 weeks of her admission the surgeon went in through surgery and biopsied her dura (lining that protects your brain) he also found pus inside and an abscess in the medulla area. About 3 days later they found fungus ASPERGILLUS FUMIGATUS in her Central Nervous system. They began the proper treatment with Voriconazole and her fevers have stopped. She is in rehab but has loss of memory, they’ve had to put a feeding tube because she’s forgotten how to swallow, she is learning how to walk and do everything all over again. This is rare but we believe it’s a complication from her surgery. She is 71 years old, she loved to walk 2 miles a day and was very active. Now she is dependent on everyone. She had surgery for acoustic neuroma September 18 and was admitted in the hospital October 5, 2017.

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Hi Westchester,

I am so sorry that your Mother -in-law had this awful infection.

The fungus Aspergillus is a rare infection following surgery, much rarer than bacterial infections so the common course of action, once an infection has been detected, is to first treat with an antibiotic, then another one if that doesn't work. Only if all that fails is it likely that the infection is fungal. Your doctors followed a reasonable path for treatment.

Perhaps doctors should anticipate a fungal infection and give an antifungal drug before they are sure that there is a fungal infection? Unfortunately, they tend to cause severe side effects so most doctors will hold back unless they are sure and it can take some time before thay can be sure.

What is really needed is a way to quickly detect a fungal infection, sadly those techniques are not yet reliable in early stages of infection.

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