Symptom-specific use of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients yields high dividends

Academic Article


  • The yield of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenoscopy; EGD) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- infected patients based on presenting symptoms has not been well studied. We studied consecutive patients with documented HIV infection undergoing EGD at a large inner city hospital between August 1, 1990 and December 31, 1993; all had presenting symptoms and indications for EGD prospectively recorded at the time of EGD. All endoscopic abnormalities were routinely subjected to biopsy, and extensive histopathological evaluation was performed. EGD was considered helpful when the findings stimulated specific therapeutic intervention other than antifungal or antacid medications. The specific indications for EGD in 156 patients were as follows: esophageal symptoms, 102 patients (65%); abdominal pain, 18 (12%); upper gastrointestinal bleeding, 25 (16%); refractory nausea and vomiting, 11 (7%). Overall, pathologic findings were identified in 116 patients (74%): in refractory esophageal symptoms, 82%; upper gastrointestinal bleeding, 92%; abdominal pain, 39%; nausea and vomiting, 27%. EGD with biopsy identified a specifically treatable opportunistic disorder other than Candida in 80 patients (51%), including idiopathic esophageal ulcer (22%) or vital esophagitis and/or duodenitis (29%). EGD was not helpful in 22.3% of cases, those involving Candida (12.3%) and peptic ulcer disease (PUD)-related causes (10%). The mean CD4 count of patients with opportunistic pathologic findings (24/mm , n = 79) was significantly lower than that of patients with PUD/gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (167/mm , n = 9) or negative EGDs (165/mm , n = 35). Overall, the results of EGD influenced patient management in 78% of cases. We conclude that selective symptom-specific use of EGD, particularly in patients with esophageal symptoms refractory to antifungal therapy or gastrointestinal bleeding, usually identifies specifically treatable abnormalities, whereas EGD is less useful for the evaluation of abdominal pain or nausea and vomiting. 3 3 3
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    Author List

  • Bashir RM; Wilcox CM
  • Start Page

  • 292
  • End Page

  • 298
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 4