As very few large scale publications of invasive fungal infection (IFI) have been reported in lupus patients from individual medical centers, a retrospective study was performed from 1988 to 2009 in southern Taiwan. Demographic characteristics, clinical and laboratory data, and mycological examinations were analyzed. Twenty cases with IFI were identified in 2397 patients (0.83% incidence). There were 19 females and one male with an average age of 31.8 ± 12.6. Involved sites included eight disseminated cases, six central nervous system, four lungs, one abdomen and one soft tissue. IFI contributed to a high mortality with 10 deaths (50%), and there were no survivors for the disseminated cases and Candida-infected patients. High activity (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) > 8) was noted in 50% of IFI episodes. The survival from IFI diagnosis to death was only 7.7 ± 4.2 days, all in a rapid course. No statistical difference was found between survivors and non-survivors when comparing their SLEDAI. Eighty-five percent of IFI episodes under high dosages of corticosteroids therapy and 95% of patients had lupus nephritis. There was an increased risk of IFI in the lupus patients receiving high daily dosage of prednisolone therapy. Critical information from analyses of the present large series could be applied into clinical practices to reduce the morbidity and mortality in such patients.
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