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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 67-70
Brief Communication

Tropical Sprue in a Case of Heterosexually Transmitted Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Raymond G. Lahaie, Sidney Sabbah, André Dumont, Pierre Poitras, Michel Gagnon, François Martin, Michel Boivin, and Michel Lemoyne

Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology) and Pathology, Saint-Luc Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 12 February 1988; Accepted 26 February 1988

Copyright © 1988 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A heterosexual patient presented with severe diarrhea, malabsorption and weight loss. He was found to have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) on the basis of candida esophagitis. Pneumocysris carinii pneumonia, inversion of T lymphocyte subpopulation ratio and the presence of serum anti-HIV virus antibodies. The patient had travelled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic where he had multiple sexual contacts with indigenous women. Despite thorough evaluation to identify the cause of diarrhea no infection, agent was discovered. Duodenal biopsy showed partial villous atrophy, slight crypt hyperplasia and increased number of intraepithelial lymphocytes. After two weeks treatment with tetracycline and folic acid. the patient was symptom free and intestinal histology had returned ro normal. Tropical sprue must thus be considered in the differential diagnosis of intestinal villous atrophy in patients with AIDS.