General Approach to Diagnosis of Fungal Infections of the Gastrointestinal Tract
The incidence of invasive fungal infections, including fungal infections of the gastrointestinal tract, has increased significantly over the past 20 years as the number of patients with organ transplants, AIDS and other immunodeficiency states, and on long-term chemotherapy has risen. Gastrointestinal fungal infections occur most commonly in immunocompromised patients, but virtually all fungi have been reported to cause infection in immunocompetent persons as well. Fungal infections of the gastrointestinal tract can be roughly divided into two categories: those caused by transmucosal invasion and those that disseminate following primary infection of another site (usually pulmonary). In addition, invasive fungal infections are associated with repetitive abdominal surgeries, widespread use of antimicrobial agents, intrusive vascular lines, diabetes, total parenteral nutrition, neonatal prematurity, and advancing age.