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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Disseminated Kaposi Sarcoma


Case Presentation: A 28-year-old male with a recent diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus presented to the emergency department with odynophagia and dysphagia for a month. Physical exam revealed Kaposi sarcoma partially occluding the airway. Point-of-care ultrasound was used to assist with the diagnosis of reactive lymphadenopathy, and computed tomography revealed systemic disease. Otolaryngology was urgently consulted, and the patient was admitted for prompt tracheostomy the following day.

Discussion: Kaposi sarcoma is a violaceous vascular neoplasm that is an acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining illness. Mucocutaneous membranes should be thoroughly evaluated with patients suspected of AIDS. This case demonstrates the vital evaluation of the patient’s airway to assess patency. Highly active antiretroviral therapy should be initiated promptly, as well as chemotherapy in severe systemic cases.

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