Herpetic esophagitis: a diagnosis to remember

  • Marina Pinheiro Pediatric Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Filipa Raposo Pediatric Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Ana Carneiro Pediatric Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Manuel Veiga Pathological Anatomy Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Luís Lopes Gastroenterology Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Ana Rita Araújo Pediatric Service of ULS Alto Minho
  • Isabel Martinho Pediatric Service of ULS Alto Minho
Keywords: Child, dysphagia, herpetic esophagitis, herpes simplex virus.

Abstract

Introduction: Herpetic esophagitis is a well-recognized infection in immunocompromised hosts, having been rarely described in immunocompetent individuals.

Case report: The authors describe a case of a 16-year-old female adolescent admitted to the emergency room with a threeday history of fever, odynophagia, dysphagia for liquid and solid food and retrosternal pain. The upper endoscopy revealed linear and round erosions in the distal esophagus and the histologic findings were compatible with herpetic esophagitis.

Discussion/conclusion: Herpetic esophagitis is an underdiagnosed condition in immunocompetent children and adolescents, but it should not be overlooked. An esophagoscopy is required to make a definitive diagnosis. It is usually a selflimited infection and the mainstay of treatment is supportive care. The use of acyclovir is still controversial but its early initiation may shorten the clinical course of the disease.

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Published
2016-02-22
Section
Case Reports