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Orbital and cranial nerve presentations and sequelae are hallmarks of invasive fungal sinusitis caused by Mucor in contrast to Aspergillus

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Background: Acute fulminant invasive fungal sinusitis (IFS) is a rapidly progressing, destructive process almost exclusively affecting immunocompromised patients. Outcome differences have been found in patients with Mucor and Aspergillus. We performed this study to compare the presenting symptoms and long-term morbidity with IFS caused by Mucor versus Aspergillus species.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed of 48 patients with 49 cases of acute fulminant IFS over a 19-year period. Presenting symptoms and long-term morbidity related to the orbits and cranial nerves were evaluated.

Results: Mucor was found in 22 cases and Aspergillus was found in 27 cases. Orbital (proptosis, periorbital edema, and ophthalmoplegia) and cranial nerve symptoms were seen at presentation more often in Mucor (6 [27%] and 9 [41%]) than in Aspergillus patients (3 [11%] and 7 [26%]; p = 0.079). Long-term orbital and cranial nerve sequelae occurred in 16 (72%) Mucor cases and 10 (37%) Aspergillus cases (p = 0.0210). The IFS-related mortality was 32% (7) in the Mucor group and 11% (3) in the Aspergillus group (p = 0.089).

Conclusion: Patients with acute fulminant IFS present with similar sinus symptoms; however, there is a trend toward a greater prevalence of orbital and neurological symptoms in patients with Mucor versus Aspergillus. Long-term orbital and neurological morbidity is more prevalent in patients with Mucor compared with Aspergillus. These data suggest that the presence of orbital and neurological symptoms at presentation warrants more aggressive surgical intervention because of the likelihood of Mucor.

Keywords: Aspergillus; Mucor; complications; cranial nerve palsy; immunosuppression; invasive fungal sinusitis; morbidity; orbit; paranasal sinuses; sequelae

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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