SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
OBJECTIVE: To determine the aetiology of oesophageal ulceration in HIV-infected patients. DESIGN: A retrospective clinical, endoscopic and histopathological analysis of patients with confirmed HIV infection and an oesophageal ulcer diagnosed on endoscopy. SETTING: A tertiary referral, gastrointestinal clinic in Cape Town. RESULTS: Fifty-one patients with HIV infection and oesophageal ulceration were seen from January 2001 to December 2007. Median CD4 count was 26 cells/µl. Mean age was 35.5 years. Sixty per cent of patients were female. Forty-nine per cent of oesophageal ulcers were idiopathic while 23% were caused by cytomegalovirus infection. The remainder were due to miscellaneous causes. CONCLUSION: A surprisingly small number of patients with HIVassociated oesophageal ulceration were seen during the study period. This may reflect local referral practices or the fact that patients with severe immunosuppression succumb before developing oesophageal ulcers. As in other series, idiopathic oesophageal ulcers and cytomegalovirus ulcers made up the majority of cases. Correct biopsy technique and appropriate histological and microbiological investigations are associated with improved diagnostic yield in these patients.