Author(s): Prasad HK, Bhojwani KM, Shenoy V, Prasad SC
PURPOSE: AIDS is a fatal illness, which breaks down the body's immunity and leaves the victim vulnerable to life-threatening opportunistic infections, neurological disorders, or unusual malignancies. About 80% of patients with HIV infections present with otolaryngological symptoms. Often, the otolaryngologist is the primary physician who diagnoses the HIV infection. He should be aware and vigilant for its symptoms and unusual presentations. The aim of our study was to determine the incidence of otolaryngological manifestations, the clinical presentations, relevant diagnostic tools, management, and survival rates.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We studied 968 patients who were diagnosed to have HIV infection at Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, India, from January 1996 to December 2004. The incidence of otolaryngological manifestations was noted. Patients with opportunistic infections were treated by specific and symptomatic measures. Of 968 patients studied, 419 were followed up for a 5-year period.
RESULTS: In our study, otolaryngological findings were noted in 79% of individuals. Oropharyngeal findings, which were the commonest, were seen in 59%, followed by cervical lymphadenopathy in 42% of patients. Oral candidiasis was the commonest oropharyngeal finding, seen in 39% of patients. Among nasal complaints, rhinosinusitis was the commonest, found in 17% of patients. Otological manifestations were seen in 20%, of which chronic suppurative otitis media was the commonest, seen in 13% of patients. Routine investigations were found to suffice for diagnosis. Of 419 patients who were followed up, the 5-year survival rate was 73%.
CONCLUSION: With the increase in the number of AIDS cases, it is important for otolaryngologists to be aware of otolaryngological manifestations. Early diagnosis and timely intervention along with appropriate antiretroviral therapy improve survival rates.