Research Article Open Access

Characteristics and Incidence of Candidemia in Hospitalized Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Patients

Naana A Boachie1, Jackie P. Johnston1, Simi A. Philip1, Kaede V. Sullivan2 and Maria Heaney1
  • 1 St. Joseph's University Medical Center, United States
  • 2 Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, United States


Management of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) with high-dose corticosteroids and interleukin-2 inhibitors has potential benefits, but is associated with immunosuppression and risk of secondary infections. This single-center, retrospective, cohort study evaluated the incidence of candidemia and associated risk factors in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Twenty-three patients developed candidemia and were matched to 77 non-candidemic COVID-19 controls. The primary outcome was incidence of candidemia. Secondary outcomes included time to first positive fungal blood culture and antifungal initiation, antifungal treatment duration, fungal isolate identification, candidemia risk factors, in-hospital mortality, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and hospital Length of Stay (LOS) and mechanical ventilation duration. Candidemia incidence was 0.7% (23/3101). Mean time from hospital admission to first positive fungal blood culture was 26.2±14.3 days, with systemic antifungal therapy initiated in 19 patients; seven started antifungal therapy the same day cultures were drawn and 12 within 24 h of preliminary culture results positive for yeast. The remaining four patients expired prior to culture results. Mean duration of antifungal therapy was 9.7±6.6 days. Candida albicans was the most frequently identified isolate. Candidemic patients were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, receive high-dose corticosteroid, renal replacement therapy, mechanical ventilation, central line, tocilizumab and broad-spectrum antimicrobials. They also had higher mortality (82% vs. 22%, p<0.0001) and longer ICU LOS (25 vs 0 days, p<0.0001), hospital LOS (39 vs 10 days, p<0.0001) and mechanical ventilation days (19 vs 0 days, p<0.0001). Candidemia occurrence is rare in COVID-19 patients, but can result in worse clinical outcomes such as high mortality and longer hospital stay. Clinicians should attempt to minimize risk factors and perform routine workup for systemic candida infections in COVID-19 patients in the ICU, on mechanical ventilation and with multiple risk factors.

American Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 18 No. 1, 2022, 1-8


Submitted On: 23 July 2021 Published On: 18 January 2022

How to Cite: Boachie, N. A., Johnston, J. P., Philip, S. A., Sullivan, K. V. & Heaney, M. (2022). Characteristics and Incidence of Candidemia in Hospitalized Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Patients. American Journal of Infectious Diseases, 18(1), 1-8.

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  • Candidemia
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Risk Factors