Cytomegalovirus-induced colitis in HIV infection. Considerations on its diagnosis, treatment and complications.

A E Sousa, M Lucas, M J Palhano, J de Deus, J Damião, R M Victorino


The diagnosis of cytomegalovirus intestinal disease in patients with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection frequently raises diagnostic problems in view of the absence of definite pathological, serological or virological markers of active CMV infection. We describe the case of a 47-year-old man with a CMV colitis which illustrates several diagnostic and therapeutic problems and that was complicated by an intestinal perforation. We emphasize that in HIV+ patients with chronic diarrhea, the presence of abdominal pain should suggest the possibility of a CMV colitis and that in such cases a colonoscopy with biopsies of the right colon should be performed, in view of the higher frequency of the typical histopathological changes at this level. On the other hand, this case presented a marked thickening of the colon wall, simulating pseudotumoral images on CAT scans, as recently described in literature. The therapeutic possibilities as well as the complications of CMV colitis are discussed in the context of the occurrence of an ileal perforation, which represents the first report of this complication in Portuguese literature and which had the particularity of having a long survival after surgery in comparison with the previous cases described in international literature.

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