Temporary Abdominal Closure Is Associated with Increased Risk for Fungal Intra-Abdominal Infections in Trauma Patients

Christina X. Zhang, Rohit R. Rasane, Qiao Zhang, Ricardo A. Fonseca, Jose A. Aldana, Javier E. Rincon, Maya J. Sorini, Kelly M. Bochicchio, Jennifer M. Leonard, Obeid N. Ilahi, Grant V. Bochicchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fungal infections are associated with increased morbidity and death. Few studies have examined risk factors associated with post-operative fungal intra-abdominal infections (FIAIs) in trauma patients after exploratory laparotomy. In this study, we evaluated potential risk factors for acquiring post-operative FIAIs and their impact on clinical outcomes. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of trauma patients admitted from 2005 to 2018 who underwent exploratory laparotomy and subsequently had development of intra-abdominal infection (IAI). Demographics, comorbidities, culture data, antimicrobial usage, Injury Severity Scores (ISS), and clinical outcomes were abstracted. All post-operative IAIs were evaluated and stratified as either bacterial, fungal, combined, and with or without colonization. All groups were compared. Risk factors for the development of post-operative IAI and clinical outcomes were analyzed by Student t test and chi-square test. Multi-variable logistic regression was used to determine independent predictors of post-operative FIAIs. Results: There were 1675 patients identified as having undergone exploratory laparotomy in the setting of traumatic injury, 161 of whom were suspected of having IAI. A total of 105 (6.2%) patients had a diagnosis of IAI. Of these patients, 40 (38%) received a diagnosis of FIAI. The most common fungal pathogens were unspeciated yeast (48.3%), followed by Candida albicans (42.7%), C. glabrata (4.5%), C. dubliniensis (2.25%), and C. tropicalis (2.25%). There were no significant differences in demographics, comorbidities, and percentage of gastric perforations between FIAI and bacterial IAI (BIAI) groups. Patients with FIAIs, however, had a 75% temporary abdominal closure (TAC) rate compared with 51% in BIAIs (p = 0.01). The FIAI group had higher ISS (27 vs. 22, p = 0.03), longer hospital days (34 vs. 25, p = 0.02), and longer intensive care unit (ICU) days (17 vs. 9, p = 0.006) when compared with BIAI. The FIAI group also had a five-fold greater mortality rate. Logistic regression identified TAC as an independent risk factor for the development of post-operative FIAIs (odds ratio [OR] 6.16, confidence interval [CI] 1.14-28.0, p = 0.02). Conclusions: An FIAI after exploratory laparotomy was associated with greater morbidity and death. A TAC was associated independently with increased risk of FIAI after exploratory laparotomy in the setting of traumatic injury. Clinicians should suspect fungal infections in trauma patients in whom post-operative IAI develops after undergoing exploratory laparotomy using TAC techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-751
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical infections
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • fungal infections
  • intra-abdominal infection
  • temporary abdominal closure


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