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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Aspergillus positive - can this affect my COPD?

    I have COPD Asthma and many other health problems and recently I had a blood test that came back positive with Aspergillus in the blood. Could you please explain this and would it cause problems with my Lung disease and infections?

    Thank you and I appreciate your answer.
    Kind regards
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Peter Solin

    Respiratory & Sleep Medicine Physician

    Dr Peter Solin is a highly trained authority in sleep disorders medicine and respiratory medicine, having graduated from Melbourne University in 1987 and undertaken specialist … View Profile

    Dear Barbie
    There are two components of aspergillus blood tests. The first is whether your body recognises aspergillus as something that you may develop an allergy to, and the second is whether you are actually developing a reaction to it. Many people have a positive blood test in the first instance, but don't have a positive blood test in the second instance. So it depends what sort of blood test you had.
    In general, we are all exposed to aspergillus in our lives. Many of us carry it in our noses, and sometimes we can cough it up, particularly if we have airways disease such as COPD. Many people with COPD have aspergillus in sputum/phlegm, in minor amounts.
    Also if you are taking an inhaler with a degree of corticosteroid/cortisone type medication in it, it's not uncommon to grow aspergillus in sputum. In these two situations it usually is not causing disease or any trouble.
    If you have long-standing asthma, and you have a strong positive allergic blood test to aspergillus, then that indicates that you will need more intensive inhalational therapy to keep your airways as good as they can be, and sometimes courses of steroid by mouth.
    Don't make the mistake of googling aspergillus as you will see that as a fungus it can cause serious lung disease, but usually in substantially immunocompromised people, such as those who have had transplantation of some sort, or those on major doses of immune suppressing medicines, such as those used for rheumatoid arthritis. In asthma and COPD, this is usually not the case!
    Depending on your location, discussing the results with a respiratory physician, particularly if you feel that your airways are unstable on current treatment, is the best advice I can give you.

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