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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1987 Feb;16(2 Pt 1):319-25.

Kaposi's sarcoma and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Postmortem findings in twenty-four cases.


Autopsy results on twenty-four patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and Kaposi's sarcoma were reviewed. At postmortem, 29% of patients had evidence of visceral Kaposi's sarcoma without skin lesions. The most common sites for visceral involvement with Kaposi's sarcoma were as follows: lung (37%), gastrointestinal tract (50%), and lymph nodes (50%). At the time of death, only 25% of patients had evidence of cutaneous disease alone. The patients survived up to 36 months after the diagnosis of AIDS was made according to the specific diagnostic criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control. Many of the patients had severe, disseminated infections during the course of their AIDS illness. The most common infections diagnosed during the patients' clinical courses and/or at autopsy were cytomegalovirus (75%), candidiasis (50%), Mycobacterium avium intracellulare (50%), Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (50%), bacterial pneumonia (33%), and herpes simplex virus (29%). Nearly 80% of the deaths were attributed to infection. In only one case was overwhelming Kaposi's sarcoma determined to be the cause of death.

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