Potential missed opportunities for diagnosis of cryptococcosis and the association with mortality: A cohort study

Ana S. Salazar, Matthew R. Keller, Margaret A. Olsen, Katelin B. Nickel, Ige A. George, Lindsey Larson, William G. Powderly, Andrej Spec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Cryptococcosis is one of the most common life-threatening opportunistic mycoses worldwide. Insidious presentation and slow onset of symptoms make it difficult to recognize, complicating the diagnostic process. Delays in diagnosis may lead to increased mortality. We aim to determine the frequency of missed opportunities for diagnosis of cryptococcosis and its effects on mortality. Methods: To estimate the proportion of individuals with a potentially missed diagnosis for cryptococcosis in hospitalized patients, we conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases from 2005 to 2015 from eight states. All hospitalized adult patients diagnosed with cryptococcal infection or cryptococcal meningitis were included. Potentially missed diagnoses were defined as admissions coded for a procedure or diagnosis suggestive of cryptococcosis in the 90-days prior to the initial cryptococcosis admission. Generalized estimating equations models were used to evaluate the association between underlying comorbidities and potential missed diagnosis of cryptococcosis and 90-day all-cause in-hospital mortality. Findings: Of 5,354 patients with cryptococcosis, 2,445 (45·7%) were people living with HIV (PLWH). Among PLWH, 493/2,445 (20·2%) had a potentially missed diagnosis, of which 83/493 (16·8%) died while hospitalized compared with 265/1,952 (13·6%) of those without a potentially missed diagnosis (relative risk [RR] 1·04, 95% CI 0·99–1·09). Among HIV-negative patients, 977/2,909 (33·6%) had a potentially missed diagnosis, of which 236/977 (24·2%) died while hospitalized compared with 298/1,932 (15·4%) of those not missed (RR 1·12, 95% CI 1·07–1·16). Interpretation: Missed opportunities to diagnose cryptococcosis are common despite highly efficacious diagnostic tests and are associated with increased risk of 90-day mortality in HIV-negative patients. A high index of clinical suspicion is paramount to promptly diagnose, treat, and improve cryptococcosis-related mortality. Funding: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100563
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Administrative data
  • Cryptococcus
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Misdiagnosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Potential missed opportunities for diagnosis of cryptococcosis and the association with mortality: A cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this