Hepatobiliary and pancreatic infections in AIDS: Part II

Andrew P. Keaveny, Michael S. Karasik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In the first part of our review, we discussed the general evaluation and clinical presentation of the various hepatic infections occurring in patients with AIDS. In addition, we focused on specific hepatic parenchymal infections. In this article, we will discuss the major clinical syndromes arising from opportunistic infections affecting the gallbladder (acalculous cholecystitis), biliary tree (AIDS-cholangiopathy), and pancreas (pancreatitis). Acalculous cholecystitis can develop in patients with AIDS who have not experienced the severe precipitating physiologic stresses normally required in patients without AIDS. The most common presentation is with right upper quadrant (RUQ) pain and tenderness. The diagnosis is a clinical one since there is no standard test, other than surgery. Cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice. The most common AIDS-associated infective complication of the biliary tree is AIDS-cholangiopathy. This is best viewed as a form of secondary sclerosing cholangitis resulting from a variety of opportunistic infections within the biliary tree. Affected persons present with RUQ pain and have marked elevations in the canalicular enzymes, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma-glutamyl transferase. Morphologic abnormalities are identified by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. These include stricturing, dilatation, and beading of the biliary tract. Endoscopic sphincterotomy of the papilla of Vater may provide symptomatic relief for patients with papillary stenosis. Opportunistic infections within the pancreas gland have been documented in both pre- and postmortem studies. However, the true incidence of pancreatitis related to infections is unknown. The presentation is similar to that of pancreatitis from other causes. A computerized tomogram of the abdomen is the investigation of choice. Tissue aspiration or biopsy of the pancreas is required to demonstrate the presence of an opportunistic infection. The management is usually supportive, as it is rare that a specific infection is identified and treated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-456
Number of pages6
JournalAIDS Patient Care and STDs
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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