Herpes oesophagitis

Herpes oesophagitis is one of the infectious oesophagitis that usually affects immunocompromised patients. 

It occurs as an opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients, particularly those with AIDS. It has also been described in immunocompetent individuals 3.

The aetiological agent is the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is a double-stranded DNA virus classified into two subtypes: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

It can be a consequence of viraemia, reactivation of HSV, or even a direct spread of the virus to oesophageal mucosa from the vagus nerve in immunocompromised patients. The definitive diagnosis is made with endoscopic biopsy 1

Fluoroscopy

On double contrast studies, it manifests as multiple small (<1cm) punctate or linear ulcers with surrounding radiolucent halo.

It is considered a self-limited condition and expected to resolve within two weeks, only managed with symptomatic treatment 1.

Complications
  • oesophageal perforation 1,2
  • mediastinitis
  • gastrointestinal bleeding

Other causes of infectious oesophagitis:

Oesophageal pathology
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Article information

rID: 47238
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Herpes simplex oesophagitis
  • Herpes esophagitis
  • Herpes simplex esophagitis
  • Herpes simplex virus oesophagitis
  • Herpes simplex virus esophagitis

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