PURPOSE: Allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis (ABPM) is a clinical syndrome associated with immune sensitivity to various fungi notably Aspergillus spp. that colonize the airways of asthmatics. Early diagnosis and treatment with systemic corticosteroids is the key in preventing the progression of the disease to irreversible lung fibrosis. The present study was carried out to find out the occurrence of ABPM among asthma patients with fungal sensitization attending a chest clinic of a tertiary hospital of eastern India. The clinico-radiological and aetiological profiles are also described.
METHODS: All consecutive patients with asthma presenting to the chest clinic over a period of one year were screened for cutaneous hypersensitivity to 12 common fungal antigens. The skin test positive cases were further evaluated for ABPM using standard criteria.
RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-six asthma patients were screened using twelve common fungal antigens; forty patients (31.74%) were found to be skin test positive, and ABPM was diagnosed in ten patients (7.93%). Of the 10 cases of ABPM, nine cases were those of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and one case was identified as caused by sensitization to Penicillium spp. A majority of the cases of ABPM had advanced disease and had significantly lower FEV1 compared to non-ABPM skin test positive asthmatics. Central bronchiectasis on high resolution CT scan was the most sensitive and specific among the diagnostic parameters.
CONCLUSIONS: There is a significant prevalence of ABPM in asthma patients attending our hospital and this reinforces the need to screen asthma patients for fungal sensitisation. This will help in early diagnosis and prevention of irreversible lung damage.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: ABPM is a potentially crippling disease, turning a reversible disease process to an irreversible one. To treat the condition at the earliest, early diagnosis by systematic search should be done in every asthma patient.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Anirban Sarkar, Somenath Kundu, Aloke Ghoshal, Shubhra Mitra, Abhijit Mukherjee, Soumya Das
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