Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 314-320

Phaeohyphomycosis: A study from tertiary health care center in North India

1 Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Pathology, Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh, India
3 Department of General Surgery, Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Nidhi Singla
Professor, Department of Microbiology, Government Medical College Hospital, Chandigarh 160 030
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_204_21

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Objectives: Phaeohyphomycosis refers to infections caused by phaeoid/dematiaceous or darkly pigmented fungi. This study was undertaken to further increase our knowledge about the incidence of phaeohyphomycosis and its causative agents. Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted over a period of one and a half years (January 2018–June 2019) on specimens received from patients with varied clinical manifestations ranging from superficial infections, subcutaneous cysts, pneumonia, brain abscess to a disseminated infection. These specimens were processed in the Department of Microbiology for potassium hydroxide (KOH) examination and culture and in Pathology for cytology/histopathological examination (HPE). All specimens positive on direct examination for dark grey, brown or black fungi were included in the study. Results: A total of 20 specimens were confirmed as phaeohyphomycosis. Most of the patients belonged to the age group of 41 to 50 years. Male: Female ratio was 2.3:1. Trauma was the most common risk factor. Spectra of the isolated fungal pathogens comprised of Bipolaris species, Exophiala species, Curvularia geniculata, Phialemonium species, Daldinia eschscholtzii, Hypoxylon anthochroum, Phaeoacremonium species, Leptosphaerulina australis, Medicopsis romeroi, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Eutypella species, Chaetomium globosum, Alternaria species, Cladophialophora bantiana and 2 unidentified dematiaceous fungi. Recovery from phaeohyphomycosis was seen in 12 patients, 7 were lost to follow up and one patient succumbed to the illness. Conclusion: Infections caused by phaeoid fungi can no longer be viewed as rare. In fact, phaeohyphomycosis can have myriad of presentations spanning from mild cutaneous infections to fatal brain disease. Therefore, a high index of clinical suspicion is needed to diagnose such infections. The primary treatment modality remains surgical removal of the lesion in cutaneous or subcutaneous infections however disseminated disease with a guarded prognosis requires aggressive management.

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