Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) is a malignancy of vascular endothelial cells first described by Moritz Kaposi in 1872. More recently, it is the most common tumor associated with HIV/AIDS. The widespread use of antiretroviral therapy has decreased the incidence of KS in the United States significantly; however, emergency physicians still need to recognize and manage KS.
Clinically, cutaneous KS most often appears on the lower extremities, face, oral mucosa, and genitalia in an assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Bacillary angiomatosis (caused by Bartonella henselae/quintana) may be clinically indistinguishable from KS in immunocompromised patients as it presents similarly with a variety of cutaneous lesions. Biopsy is needed to differentiate.
Take Home Points
- Have a high suspicion for KS in immunocompromised individuals.
- Diagnose KS with a biopsy.
- The primary treatment of KS is strengthening the immune system with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).