Herpes esophagitis

Herpes esophagitis is one of the infectious esophagitis that usually affects immunocompromised patients. 

It occurs as an opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients, particularly those with AIDS. It has also been described in immunocompetent individuals 3.

The etiological agent is the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is a double-stranded DNA virus classified into two subtypes: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

It can be a consequence of viremia, reactivation of HSV, or even a direct spread of the virus to esophageal mucosa from the vagus nerve in immunocompromised patients. The definitive diagnosis is made with endoscopic biopsy 1

On double contrast studies, it manifests as multiple small (<1 cm) punctate or linear ulcers with surrounding radiolucent halo.

It is considered a self-limited condition and expected to resolve within two weeks, only managed with symptomatic treatment 1.

  • esophageal perforation 1,2
  • mediastinitis
  • gastrointestinal bleeding

Other causes of infectious esophagitis:

Oesophageal pathology
Share article

Article information

rID: 47238
Tag: cases, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Herpes simplex oesophagitis
  • Herpes esophagitis
  • Herpes simplex esophagitis
  • Herpes simplex virus oesophagitis
  • Herpes simplex virus esophagitis

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.