Invasive Candidiasis: Definition, Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Invasive candidiasis is an infection caused by the yeast Candida. In this lesson, you will learn about invasive candidiasis as well as the symptoms and treatments for this condition.

Invasive Candidiasis

Jennifer is a 37-year-old librarian who recently got into a serious car accident, breaking several bones and suffering a lot of blood loss. The injuries she sustained required her to stay in the hospital for several days.

While in the hospital, she developed symptoms that where not directly associated with her broken bones and cuts, such as a high fever and chills. Her doctor thought the fever might be caused by a bacterial infection, so he gave her antibiotics to hopefully kill the bacteria causing it, but she did not get better.

Additionally, her heart, bones, and central nervous system became inflamed and infected as well. The doctors ran several tests on Jennifer to determine the cause of these new symptoms, and eventually Jennifer's doctor told her that she had invasive candidiasis.

Invasive Candidiasis: Definition

Invasive candidiasis in an infection caused by the yeast Candida. Invasive candidiasis is a very serious condition that can affect many parts of the body including the blood, heart, bones, brain, and eyes. It's a fairly common condition, infecting around 45,000 people in the US each year.

Candida, the yeast that causes invasive candidiasis.
candida

Invasive candidiasis most often occurs in people who have impaired immune systems. People who are immunocompromised include hospitalized patients, cancer patients, people on dialysis, and others.

Candida lives on the skin and in the intestines of most people, but usually doesn't cause any problems because it can't enter the blood stream. However, medical equipment, such as intravenous (IV) catheters, can puncture the skin and allow this yeast to enter the blood stream to cause infection.

Invasive Candidiasis: Symptoms

The most common symptoms of invasive candidiasis are fever and chills. Other symptoms are determined by what part of the body becomes infected.

For example, Candida can infect the heart, eyes, and brain. Once these areas are infected, they can become painful and their function may be impaired. Infected eyes can lead to blurred vision, while an infected brain can lead to confusion. Severe cases of infection that impact several areas of the body can possibly result in death.

Fever is the most common symptom of invasive candidiasis.
fever

Invasive Candidiasis: Treatment

Since invasive candidiasis in caused by yeast and not bacteria, antibiotics will not work to cure this type of infection. Rather, invasive candidiasis is usually treated using an antifungal medication that is most often given through an IV, directly into a vein.

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