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Papers of the Week

2021 Jan 22

PLoS Negl Trop Dis



Gastrointestinal disseminated histoplasmosis in HIV-infected patients: A descriptive and comparative study.


Nacher M, Valdes A, Adenis A, Blaizot R, Abboud P, Demar M, Djossou F, Epelboin L, Misslin C, Ntab B, Louvel D, Drak Alsibai K, Couppié P
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2021 Jan 22; 15(1):e0009050.
PMID: 33481806.


Disseminated histoplasmosis is one the main AIDS-defining opportunistic infections in HIV-infected patients, notably in Latin America. The non-specific and proteiform clinical presentation leads to diagnostic delays that may lead to fatal outcomes. This retrospective multicentric study aimed to describe the frequency and manifestations of gastrointestinal histoplasmosis in French Guiana, and to compare patients with disseminated histoplasmosis with or without gastrointestinal involvement. Between January 1, 1981 and October 1, 2014 co-infections with HIV and histoplasmosis were enrolled. Inclusion criteria were: age >18 years, confirmed HIV infection; first proven episode of histoplasmosis. Among 349 cases of disseminated histoplasmosis, 245 (70%) had a gastrointestinal presentation. Half of patients with gastrointestinal signs had abdominal pain or diarrhea, mostly watery. Half of patients with abdominal pain had diarrhea (63/124) and half of those with diarrhea (63/123) had abdominal pain. A significant proportion of patients also had hepatomegaly and, to a lesser degree, splenomegaly. After adjusting for potential confounding, the presence of lymphadenopathies >2cm (AOR = 0.2, IC95 = 0.04-0.7, P = 0.01), Haitian origin (AOR = 0.04, IC95 = 0.004-0.4, P = 0.006) were associated with a lower prevalence of gastrointestinal signs and positive gastrointestinal presence of H. capsulatum. Persons with a gastrointestinal H. capsulatum were more likely to have a decreased prothrombin time, lower ferritin, lower liver enzymes, and lower concentrations of LDH than those without gastrointestinal signs and symptoms. They also had a shorter interval between symptoms onset and diagnosis. Patients with a positive gastrointestinal identification of H. capsulatum were less likely to die at 1 month than those without a gastrointestinal presentation (respectively, 4.6% vs 18.5%, P = 0.01). Subacute or chronic gastrointestinal presentations are very frequent during disseminated histoplasmosis, they seem less severe, and should lead to suspect the diagnosis in endemic areas. There were populational or geographic differences in the frequency of gastrointestinal manifestations that could not be explained.