Prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms among ambulatory HIV patients and a control population
Lee, Michael G.
Background The gastrointestinal tract is a common site of involvement in HIV-infectedpatients. Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in the general population and are associatedwith decreased quality of life.Methods Ambulatory consecutive HIV-infected patients and consecutive healthy blood donorsseen in Jamaica were studied. A 19-item questionnaire of GI symptoms was administered.Results There were 196 respondents. Among 99 HIV patients, the mean number of symptomswas 2.9 and in 97 controls 3.3 (p=0.091). Dysphagia and odynophagia were present in8.1% of HIV patients and 3.1% of the controls (p=0.129). Belching was present in 59.6% ofHIV patients and in 96.8% of controls (pâ‰¤0.001). In the control group, 44.3% had heartburncompared to 29.3% of HIV patients. Within the preceding year, 26.3% of HIV participantsand 12.4% of controls sought medical attention for their GI symptoms (p=0.001). GI symptomatology was directly related to immune status in the HIV group as patients with a CD4count of less than 200 cells/Î¼L reported up to 6 GI symptoms, those with CD4 of 201-350cells/Î¼L had 3 symptoms, and patients with CD4 greater than 351 cells/Î¼L had 1 symptom.Pain on swallowing, and vomiting were significantly more common in patients with CD4<350 cells/Î¼L than in controls.Conclusions GI symptoms were common in HIV patients and controls. In HIV patients symptomswere directly related to CD4 count. Pain on swallowing and vomiting were significantlymore common in patients with CD4 <350 cells/Î¼L than in controls.Keywords GI symptoms, HIV infectionAnn Gastroenterol 2012; 25 (3): 243-248