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Audit of endoscopic surveillance biopsy specimens in HIV positive patients with gastrointestinal symptoms.
  1. S G Lim,
  2. M C Lipman,
  3. S Squire,
  4. D Pillay,
  5. S Gillespie,
  6. E A Sankey,
  7. A P Dhillon,
  8. M A Johnson,
  9. C A Lee,
  10. R E Pounder
  1. University Department of Medicine, Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine, London.


    An audit of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in HIV infected patients with gastrointestinal symptoms assessed the frequency of disease detected by endoscopy and routine laboratory analysis of surveillance biopsy specimens. Sixty nine consecutive endoscopies were performed in 59 HIV infected patients. Endoscopic biopsy specimens were taken from the lower oesophagus, gastric antrum, and third part of the duodenum for virology, histopathology, parasitology, bacteriology, and mycobacterial culture. Endoscopic appearances detected disease in 25/59 (42.4%) patients (oesophageal candida, 14; oesophageal ulcer, 3; Kaposi's sarcoma, 4; others, 4), but only 4/43 (9.3%) specimens showed evidence of disease in the absence of endoscopic abnormality. Virology for cytomegalovirus (detection of early antigenic fluorescent foci and culture) was positive in 6/59 (10.2%) patients, but parasitology and mycobacterial culture were negative in all cases. Histopathology was abnormal in 11/52 (21%) oesophageal biopsy specimens, 13/47 (28%) gastric biopsy specimens, and 4/65 (6%) duodenal biopsy specimens. Abnormal findings were found predominantly in those with advanced HIV disease (CDC Stage IV) (21/33 patients (64%)) compared with those with early HIV disease (CDC Stage II) (5/26 (19%)). In conclusion, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy detects macroscopic disease in AIDS patients and those with low CD4 counts, but routine surveillance biopsy specimens of apparently normal bowel in early HIV disease (or where CD4 counts are greater than 0.2 x 10(9)/1) are of little value.

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