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Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 717183, 3 pages
Case Report

Herpes Simplex Esophagitis in Immunocompetent Host: A Case Report

Section of General and Thoracic Surgery, University Hospital of Palermo, 90100 Palermo, Italy

Received 16 March 2009; Revised 2 July 2009; Accepted 29 July 2009

Academic Editor: Jean-Marc Dumonceau

Copyright © 2009 G. Geraci et al. 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.


Introduction. Herpes simplex esophagitis is well recognized in immunosuppressed subjects, but it is infrequent in immunocompetent patients. We present a case of HSE in a 53-year-old healthy man. Materials and Methods. The patient was admitted with dysphagia, odynophagia, and retrosternal chest pain. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed minute erosive area in distal esophagus and biopsies confirmed esophagitis and findings characteristic of Herpes Simplex Virus infection. Results. The patients was treated with high dose of protonpump inhibitor, sucralfate, and acyclovir, orally, with rapid resolution of symptoms. Discussion. HSV type I is the second most common cause of infectious esophagitis. The majority of symptomatic immunocompetent patients with HSE will present with an acute onset of esophagitis. Endoscopic biopsies from the ulcer edges should be obtained for both histopathology and viral culture. In immunocompetent host, HSE is generally a self-limited condition. Conclusions. HSE should be suspected in case of esophagitis without evident cause, even if the patient is immunocompetent. When the diagnosis of HSE is confirmed, careful history and assessment for an immune disorder such as HIV infection is crucial, to look for underlying immune deficiency.