An evidence gap exists in anti-fungal diagnostic practice following abdominal surgery, especially when compared to haem-oncology counterparts. In light of the recent Anti-fungal Stewardship CQUIN, our study addresses the utility of serum (1,3)-β-D-Glucan (BDG) testing post-gastrointestinal surgery.


We identified positive BDG results (>/=80pg/mL) on ITU and surgical wards in 3 major institutions in the Bristol area. Those with a ‘history of abdominal surgery </=30 days previous’ were identified using electronic health records. Other variables included number of days from surgery to testing, value of the result, and past medical history.


110 patients with positive results were identified. 19 (17.3%) of these had a history of abdominal surgery. By surgical type, 6 (31.6%) had major abdominal surgery. 6 (31.6%) had pancreatic surgery and 5 (26.3%) small bowel resection. 2 had other types of surgery. The mean BDG score was 286pg/mL. 1 patient had risk factors other than gastrointestinal surgery for a positive BDG result.

Only 1 patient died within 28 days. Patients tested between 0-9, 10-19 or 20-30 days of surgery had mean BDG scores of 329pg/mL, 302pg/mL and 390pg/mL respectively. 40% were tested within 9 days of surgery. There was no clear evidence of invasive fungal infections.


Positive BDG testing is common after surgery, but does not appear to be associated with a significant mortality burden. Ensuring appropriate anti-fungal therapy is essential for treatment, risk reduction and cost containment. More research is needed to identify appropriate testing strategies in patients with abdominal surgery.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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