Strongyloides stercoralis Infestation Manifesting as Protein Losing Enteropathy and Dyselectrolytaemia in an Immunocompetent Adult: A Case Report
Dr. Nihar Ranjan Mohanty,
Assistant Professor, Department of General Medicine, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), KIIT University, KIIT Road, Patia, Bhubaneswar-751024, Odisha, India.
Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal nematode which persists as chronic asymptomatic infection for several years. Clinical manifestations become apparent long after initial infection which includes non specific gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like pain abdomen, nausea, vomiting, altered bowel habits or weight loss. Larval reproduction can lead to disseminated infection in the immunocompromised. Very rarely, hyperinfection or disseminated strongyloides can lead to ulceration, bleeding, small bowel obstruction, colitis or ascites. In severe cases, electrolyte disturbances and protein losing enteropathy may occur. We present a unique case of intestinal infestation of Strongyloides stercoralis in a 42-year-old immunocompetent male with a rare manifestation of protein losing enteropathy and dyselectrolytaemia without any GI symptoms at the outset, whose presentation was anasarca and initial investigations including work-up for cardiovascular, hepatic and renal causes of anasarca were unremarkable except for hypoalbuminaemia and electrolyte abnormalities and notable absence of peripheral eosinophilia. The diagnosis was arrived at by simple and conventional investigations like stool microscopy which demonstrated the Strongyloides larvae and upper GI endoscopy aided the biopsy which was confirmatory. He responded to appropriate medical treatment. Helminthic infestation should be kept in mind as a rare cause of malabsorption syndrome manifesting as protein losing enteropathy in a tropical and endemic country like India. These are treatable causes and respond to specific cost-effective antihelminthic treatments.