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cytomegalovirus, esophagitis, end-organ disease, opportunistic infection, aids, hiv, rectal cancer, squamous cell cancer




Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can present with end-organ disease (EOD), particularly in patients with a CD4 cell count <50/mm3. While EOD in immunocompromised patients commonly presents as CMV retinitis (30%) and CMV colitis (5-10%), CMV esophagitis is rare. CMV is the third most common infectious esophagitis following Candida and Herpes Simplex. CMV esophagitis presents with odynophagia, dysphagia, and abdominal pain. Endoscopic exam may reveal large, linear distal esophageal ulcers. Histopathology or serology studies are diagnostic, though serology may be unreliable in the extremely immunosuppressed. Current treatment consists of antivirals such as ganciclovir and valganciclovir. Esophageal disease due to CMV carries a poor prognosis in the immunocompromised. We present the case of a 56-year-old male with a medical history of HIV/AIDS and stage III rectal squamous cell cancer who presented with shortness of breath, weakness, and chronic diarrhea. His HIV was previously well-controlled on antiretroviral therapy. However, due to his malignancy, he was undergoing treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. Initial labs revealed a CD4 count of 42. His clinical course consisted of Escherichia coli septicemia, new-onset atrial fibrillation with a rapid ventricular response, worsening pneumonia, possible metastasis, progressive diarrhea, and potential oropharyngeal candidiasis. Despite several broad-spectrum antimicrobial regimens, he remained symptomatic with new complaints of dysphagia and odynophagia. Eventually, the appearance of vesicular lesions on the lips and a repeat CD4 count of 13 garnered a suspicion of HSV or CMV. This complicated case highlights the necessity for a high index of suspicion of rare manifestations of CMV EOD in an immunocompromised patient presenting with confounding clinical symptoms and extensive diagnoses.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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