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Candidemia in the critically ill patient.

The frequency of invasive fungal infections caused by yeasts has increased in intensive care units. The most commonly isolated species is Candida albicans, although the number of non-albicans species isolated has increased, and associated mortality is greater in patients infected with these species. The factors that most frequently predispose to invasive candidiasis in the intensive care unit are alterations in skin and mucous barriers (catheters, surgery, intubation, etc.), renal insufficiency, parenteral nutrition, and therapy with corticosteroids or broad-spectrum antimicrobials. Early diagnosis of invasive fungal infections by detecting fungal DNA or invasiveness factors, such as (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan or antimycelial antibodies, and scores to predict and empirically treat invasive candidiasis, have proven very useful in reducing associated morbidity and mortality. In recent years there have been important advances in the development of antifungal agents, especially the new azoles and candins. The efficacy and safety profile of the candins make them the best option for treating invasive candidiasis in the critically ill patient.

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