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Gastrointest Endosc. 2000 Apr;51(4 Pt 1):427-32.

Endoscopy in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome patients with diarrhea and negative stool studies.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



Diarrhea is a frequent gastrointestinal symptom in patients with acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and is a major source of morbidity and mortality. A stepwise diagnostic approach is often recommended to search for treatable causes. However, whether the stepwise diagnostic approach is adequate for planning treatment and whether specific treatment for infectious etiologies will affect the survival of patients with AIDS remain unknown.


From March 1996 to September 1997, endoscopy was performed in AIDS patients with diarrhea, the etiology of which was not identified by noninvasive methods. Specific treatment was given according to the identified etiologies and symptomatic treatment was given for those without definite diagnosis. The clinical symptoms, signs, and duration of follow-up were recorded and survival patterns were analyzed.


Etiologic diagnoses were made in 26 of 40 patients (65%) who underwent endoscopic studies. Amebic colitis and cytomegalovirus colitis were the 2 leading causes of prolonged diarrhea in patients with AIDS. Thirty-five patients (87.5%) recovered after treatment. The difference in survival time after diarrhea between patients whose symptoms resolved after treatment and those who continued to have diarrhea was statistically significant (p < 0.001).


Endoscopic studies were helpful for the diagnosis of prolonged diarrhea in AIDS patients who had negative stool studies and did not respond to 2 weeks of empiric treatment. Specific treatment according to the results of endoscopy may improve survival in these patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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