What is the pathophysiology of infectious esophagitis?

Updated: May 02, 2019
  • Author: Deepika Devuni, MBBS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Infectious esophagitis is most commonly observed in immunosuppressed hosts [7, 8] but has also been reported in healthy adults and children. A wide range of abnormalities in host defense may predispose an individual to opportunistic infections, such as neutropenia, impaired chemotaxis and phagocytosis, alteration in humoral immunity, and impaired T-cell lymphocyte function.

Patients with systemic diseases (eg, diabetes mellitus, adrenal dysfunction, alcoholism) and those of advanced age can be predisposed to infectious esophagitis because of altered immune function. Steroids, cytotoxic agents, radiation, and immune modulators can also contribute to impaired host immune function. Disruption of the mucosal protective barriers and antibiotics that suppress the normal bacterial flora may contribute to the invasive ability of commensal organisms. [9]

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