Invasive candidiasis is a serious fungal infection caused by Candida. The yeast gets into your bloodstream and spreads to other areas, such as your eyes, heart, brain and kidneys. It’s a common healthcare-associated infection and can cause life-threatening complications. Some people have a higher risk of infection, such as those in the ICU.
Invasive candidiasis is a serious fungal infection that could become life-threatening if not diagnosed and managed appropriately. It occurs when yeast called Candida gets into your bloodstream and spreads to other parts of your body, such as:
The condition can cause extended hospital stays and even death.
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Candida is a common type of yeast that’s found everywhere. Various forms of Candida live on your skin and inside certain parts of your body. Sometimes, the yeast can grow out of control and cause minor infections in specific parts of your body. Examples include thrush (in your mouth) and vaginal yeast infection.
But if Candida gets into your bloodstream, it causes candidemia, one of the most common healthcare-associated infections. Severe, untreated candidemia can lead to invasive candidemia, which affects internal organs.
Certain people have a higher chance of getting candidemia and invasive candidiasis, such as:
Invasive candidiasis occurs when Candida yeast gets into your bloodstream and spreads to internal organs.
This usually happens when a medical device is being inserted into your skin or gastrointestinal tract. Examples include a catheter draining fluid from your body or an IV that delivers nutrition or medication. A medical device can pick up Candida from your skin’s surface and carry it to your bloodstream.
Sometimes, Candida can be transmitted from a healthcare worker’s hands and contaminate a medical device, too.
Symptoms of candidemia and invasive candidiasis can be difficult to detect. This is because most people who develop the condition are already sick or recovering from surgery. In addition, the signs are similar to other infections, such as bacterial infections.
Symptoms of invasive candidiasis may include:
Some symptoms are specific to the location of the infection. For example, invasive candidiasis symptoms in your eyes can cause:
Invasive candidiasis infection in your brain can cause:
Invasive candidiasis isn’t contagious from one person to another. But the yeast itself can travel from person to person and on surfaces. However, Candida would have to be introduced to the bloodstream to cause candidemia or invasive candidiasis.
A healthcare provider can diagnose a Candida infection with a sample of your blood. The sample goes to a lab, where staff put it in a special substance and wait to see whether Candida multiplies. Test results can take a few days.
Treatment for invasive candidiasis occurs in a hospital. It involves injecting antifungal medication directly into your bloodstream.
The specific type of antifungal depends on several factors, including:
Examples of antifungal medications used for invasive candidiasis are:
Treatment usually continues for two weeks after symptoms go away and blood cultures are negative for Candida. However, severe cases may need prolonged treatment.
If you’re at high risk for developing invasive candidiasis, your healthcare provider may prescribe antifungal prophylaxis. This means that you’ll receive an antifungal medication to prevent infection.
Other ways you can help reduce your risk include:
Invasive candidiasis is a serious condition with a high risk of complications that have long-term health effects, such as:
The condition must be treated in the hospital over several weeks. It’s fatal in 46% to 75% of people who develop it.
Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you’re at risk for Candida infection and experience any of its symptoms.
Invasive candidiasis can cause serious complications to internal organs. The condition may be fatal if not treated promptly.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Invasive candidiasis is a serious fungal infection. Yeast called Candida gets into your bloodstream and spreads to other parts of your body. If you’re in the hospital or at risk for infection, be sure to report any symptoms to your healthcare team immediately. And talk to your healthcare providers about strategies to prevent infection.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/27/2022.
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