Cavitary Coccidioidomycosis: Impact of azole antifungal therapy

Renni R. Panicker, Helen C. Bartels, Michael B. Gotway, Neil M. Ampel, Matthew R. Buras, Elisabeth S. Lim, Janis E. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Approximately 5 to 15% of patients with pulmonary coccidioidomycosis subsequently develop pulmonary cavities. These cavities may resolve spontaneously over a number of years; however, some cavities never close, and a small proportion causes complications such as hemorrhage, pneumothorax or empyema. The impact of azole antifungal treatment on coccidioidal cavities has not been studied. Because azoles are a common treatment for symptomatic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis, we aimed to assess the impact of azole therapy on cavity closure. From January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2014, we retrospectively identified 313 patients with cavitary coccidioidomycosis and excluded 42 who had the cavity removed surgically, leaving 271 data sets available for study. Of the 271 patients, 221 (81.5%) received azole therapy during 5-year follow-up; 50 patients did not receive antifungal treatment. Among the 271 patients, cavities closed in 38 (14.0%). Statistical modeling showed that cavities were more likely to close in patients in the treated group than in the nontreated group (hazard ratio, 2.14 [95% CI: 1.45-5.66]). Cavities were less likely to close in active smokers than nonsmokers (11/41 [26.8%] vs 97/182 [53.3%]; P = 0.002) or in persons with than without diabetes (27/74 [36.5%] vs 81/149 [54.4%]; P = 0.01).We did not find an association between cavity size and closure. Our findings provide rationale for further study of treatment protocols in this subset of patients with coccidioidomycosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)834-841
Number of pages8
JournalMedical mycology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Coccidioides
  • antifungal treatment
  • cavity
  • coccidioidomycosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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