Abdominopelvic CT Imaging Findings in the Emergency Department in Patients With HIV Positive Status: Single Institute Experience

Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2022 Nov 17;S0363-0188(22)00153-0. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2022.11.012. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To assess emergency department (ED) abdominopelvic computed tomography (CT) imaging utilization and findings in patients with known human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive status.

Materials and methods: A retrospective chart review of imaging, clinical, and laboratory data was performed for HIV positive patients who demonstrated HIV-related findings on abdominopelvic CT imaging performed within the ED.

Results: One hundred and eighty-eight patients with 522 CT scans of the abdomen and/or pelvis were reviewed. 47 patients with HIV presenting to the ED on 82 separate occasions were included in this study (mean age 43.3 years). Patients presented to the ED with infectious/inflammatory disease (n = 54) or history of HIV-related malignancy or new/worsening HIV-related malignancy (n = 28). The most common findings on abdominopelvic CT were anorectal pathology including anorectal abscess or proctitis (n = 22), followed by colitis (n = 19). Findings of HIV-associated malignancy were less common, including anal/rectal cancer (n = 7), Kaposi's sarcoma (n = 4), and lymphoma (n = 2). At the time of ED visit, 25.6% (n = 21) of patients had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Higher WBC counts were found in the infectious/inflammatory group (P = 0.021) and patients without AIDS (P = 0.0159), while lower WBC counts were associated with new or worsening malignancy (P = 0.007) and AIDS (P = 0.0000). Patients with AIDS were more likely to be deceased at the time of our study.

Conclusions: The majority of ED visits within our population were attributed to infectious/inflammatory etiologies. CT findings demonstrated predominantly infectious/inflammatory processes, with anorectal pathology being the most common. Findings of malignancy on CT were less common, while opportunistic infections and AIDS-defining malignancies were uncommon.