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 Table of Contents 
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 873-875  

Bilateral renal aspergillosis in an immunocompetent host

1 Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Division of Critical Care, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication15-Feb-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sohini Das
Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_209_17

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Bilateral primary renal aspergillosis is rare in immunocompetent hosts. The clinical presentation of Aspergillus pyelonephritis is similar to that of bacterial pyelonephritis. Here, we present an immunocompetent patient with primary bilateral renal abscesses due to Aspergillus fumigatus.

Keywords: Bilateral renal abscess, fungal renal abscess, primary renal aspergillosis

How to cite this article:
Das S, More AR, Iyadurai R. Bilateral renal aspergillosis in an immunocompetent host. J Family Med Prim Care 2017;6:873-5

How to cite this URL:
Das S, More AR, Iyadurai R. Bilateral renal aspergillosis in an immunocompetent host. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Oct 24];6:873-5. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2017/6/4/873/225530

  Introduction Top

Aspergillus is a ubiquitous saprophytic fungus cleared by the immune system of a healthy host. Invasive infections in immunocompetent hosts are uncommon (2%).[1],[2]Aspergillus infections involve respiratory system in 80%–92% of cases, followed by sinus and brain involvement.[1]

Genitourinary infections occur as part of disseminated infections in immunocompromised hosts. Isolated bilateral renal aspergillosis is rare.

There are three other case reports of primary bilateral renal aspergillosis in immunocompetent hosts. Lisson et al. reported a 50-year-old patient with renal aspergillosis managed with nephrectomy.[3] Another case report is of a 35-year-old man with bilateral renal aspergillosis managed with amphotericin.[4] Ahmad reported a patient with emphysematous pyelonephritis treated with amphotericin and flucytosine.[5]

  Case Report Top

A 66-year-old man presented with complaints of intermittent high-grade fever and generalized dull-aching abdominal pain for 3 months. He had a history of passing turbid urine, decrease in urine output and swelling of both feet for 10 days. For the current complaints, he was treated with intravenous medications for a week before coming to our hospital. He had type II diabetes mellitus for 3 years and was on regular medication for the same.

During his current admission, physical examination showed that he was conscious, afebrile, and tachycardic with heart rate of 136/min. Blood pressure was 110/70 mmHg. Rest of the vital signs were normal. He had renal angle tenderness bilaterally. Rest of the systemic examination was unremarkable.

Investigations revealed high total leukocyte counts with left shift, elevated urea and creatinine levels and pyuria with leukocyte esterase positivity [Table 1] and [Table 2]. In the above clinical setting, possibility of pyelonephritis/renal abscess with acute kidney injury was considered. Activated partial thromboplastin time was prolonged, which was thought to be due to sepsis-induced coagulopathy.
Table 1: Relevant blood investigations with reference range

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Table 2: Urine analysis with reference range

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Ultrasound of the kidneys revealed enlarged kidneys with bilateral renal abscesses [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b. Further imaging was done with a noncontrast computed tomography scan which showed similar findings. He underwent emergency ultrasound-guided drainage of renal abscesses on both sides after transfusion of blood products in view of coagulopathy. Pus drained was sent for bacterial, fungal, and mycobacterial smear and culture. Sample for GenExpert polymerase chain reaction test for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was also sent, which was negative. X-ray chest and electrocardiogram were normal. Relevant blood investigations and results of urine analysis are mentioned in [Table 1] and [Table 2], respectively.
Figure 1: Ultrasound of the right (a) and the left (b) kidney with renal abscesses

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At admission, he was empirically initiated on intravenous meropenem at doses adjusted for renal impairment. Pus smear from renal abscesses from both sides showed septate fungal hyphae. The patient was advised to take intravenous voriconazole. However, after discussion, he opted for intravenous amphotericin B which was started at a dose of 1 mg/kg/day. Cultures from both renal abscesses revealed growth of Aspergillus fumigatus. The patient's hospital stay was complicated by worsening renal function, acute pulmonary edema, hyperkalemia, and metabolic acidosis. He was initiated on hemodialysis and noninvasive ventilation. The patient had a sudden cardiac arrest, probably secondary to aspiration on day 9 of hospital stay and he succumbed to his illness.

  Discussion Top

Fungal pyelonephritis due to Aspergillus can present with fever and flank pain, similar to bacterial pyelonephritis.[6] Renal aspergillosis can also lead to obstruction of the urinary tract, hydroureteronephrosis, oliguria, and anuria.[7]

A case series that studied patients with antemortem and postmortem diagnosis of renal aspergillosis found the mortality rate to be 81%. Fifty-five percent of patients with renal aspergillosis had renal failure.[8] Diabetes mellitus, high leukocyte count (>20,000 cells/mm 3), and acute renal impairment are associated with severe pyelonephritis with multifocal lesions (odds ratio 2.9, 7.1, and 7.9, respectively). These are also likely to be seen in patients with renal abscesses.[9] All of the above poor prognostic factors were present in our patient.

In patients with invasive aspergillosis, older age, higher sequential organ failure assessment score, mechanical ventilation, and need for renal replacement therapy are associated with mortality.[10]

Fever, pyuria, and duration of symptoms before hospitalization are not helpful in differentiating patients with and without renal abscesses.[11] Computed tomography scan of the kidneys should be done when renal abscesses are suspected.

Ahmad reported an immunocompetent patient with unilateral emphysematous pyelonephritis. This patient had refused nephrectomy and hence was managed conservatively with liposomal amphotericin and flucytosine for 2 months. He showed clinical improvement along with resolution of renal failure with the above management.[5]

Another case report describes a patient with bilateral primary renal aspergillosis and granulomatous interstitial nephritis. He was managed with intravenous amphotericin B and did not require surgical intervention.[4] However, in contrast to our patient, the above patients had less severe renal dysfunction and did not require hemodialysis or Intensive Care Unit care.

Lisson et al. have reported a case of bilateral renal aspergillosis, initially managed with parenteral antifungals, subsequently requiring left nephrectomy followed by partial right nephrectomy. Necrotic mass and renal infarcts were found in the affected kidney.[3]

Fungal infections should be suspected in patients who have symptoms and signs of pyelonephritis, especially those with persistent fever and lack of response or worsening despite antibiotics.

This case highlights the importance of obtaining a microbiological diagnosis in patients with pyelonephritis. Maintaining a high index of suspicion is crucial as early administration of antifungals is required in fungal pyelonephritis.

Though rare, fungal renal abscesses can mimic bacterial pyelonephritis and should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with acute pyelonephritis.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Lortholary O, Gangneux JP, Sitbon K, Lebeau B, de Monbrison F, Le Strat Y,et al. Epidemiological trends in invasive aspergillosis in France: The SAIF network (2005-2007). Clin Microbiol Infect 2011;17:1882-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Patterson TF, Kirkpatrick WR, White M, Hiemenz JW, Wingard JR, Dupont B,et al. Invasive aspergillosis. Disease spectrum, treatment practices, and outcomes. I3 Aspergillus Study Group. Medicine (Baltimore) 2000;79:250-60.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lisson SW, Hellinger WC, Parra RO. Primary bilateral parenchymal renal aspergillus infection. Urology 2002;60:345.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sud K, D'Cruz S, Kohli HS, Jha V, Gupta KL, Chakrabarti A,et al. Isolated bilateral renal aspergillosis: An unusual presentation in an immunocompetent host. Ren Fail 1998;20:839-43.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ahmad M. Emphysematous pyelonephritis due to Aspergillus fumigatus: A case report. J Nephrol 2004;17:446-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Wise GJ, Talluri GS, Marella VK. Fungal infections of the genitourinary system: Manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment. Urol Clin North Am 1999;26:701-18, vii.  Back to cited text no. 6
Ullah SR, Jamshaid A, Zaidi SZ. Renal aspergilloma presenting with pelvi-ureteric junction obstruction (PUJO). J Pak Med Assoc 2016;66:903-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
Gupta KL. Fungal infections and the kidney. Indian J Nephrol 2001;11:147-54.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  
Lim SK, Ng FC. Acute pyelonephritis and renal abscesses in adults – Correlating clinical parameters with radiological (computer tomography) severity. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2011;40:407-13.  Back to cited text no. 9
Taccone FS, Van den Abeele AM, Bulpa P, Misset B, Meersseman W, Cardoso T,et al. Epidemiology of invasive aspergillosis in critically ill patients: Clinical presentation, underlying conditions, and outcomes. Crit Care 2015;19:7.  Back to cited text no. 10
Kumar S, Ramachandran R, Mete U, Mittal T, Dutta P, Kumar V,et al. Acute pyelonephritis in diabetes mellitus: Single centre experience. Indian J Nephrol 2014;24:367-71.  Back to cited text no. 11
  [Full text]  


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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