What is the manifestation of cytomegalovirus (CMV) GI disease in patients with HIV disease and how is it diagnosed?

Updated: Jul 07, 2021
  • Author: Ricardo Cedeno-Mendoza, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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In patients with HIV infection, CMV involves the entire GI tract. In the upper GI tract, CMV has been isolated from esophageal ulcers, gastric ulcers, and duodenal ulcers. Patients with upper GI tract esophageal disease can present with painful dysphagia. Patients with CMV disease of the lower GI tract may present with diarrhea (colitis). CMV colitis frequently affects only the right colon, necessitating full colonoscopy and multiple biopsies for accurate diagnosis. [46] Diagnosis of CMV GI disease depends on a biopsy specimen demonstrating the typical CMV intranuclear inclusions.

Recovery of CMV in tissue culture may be helpful but is difficult to interpret because of CMV shedding. CMV may be isolated from many different sites and is not necessarily associated with disease, reinforcing the need for histopathologic examination.

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