The clinical and endoscopic spectrum of the watermelon stomach

C. J. Gostout, T. R. Viggiano, D. A. Ahlquist, K. K. Wang, M. V. Larson, R. Balm

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The watermelon stomach is an uncommon but treatable cause of chronic gastrointestinal bleeding. We report our experience with the clinical and endoscopic features of 45 consecutive patients treated by endoscopic Nd:YAG laser coagulation. The prototypic patient was a woman (71%) with an average age of 73 years (range of 53-89 years) who presented with occult (89%) transfusion-dependent (62%) gastrointestinal bleeding over a median period of 2 years (range of 1 month to > 20 years). Autoimmune connective tissue disorders were present in 28 patients (62%), especially Raynaud's phenomena (31%) and sclerodactyly (20%). Atrophic gastritis occurred in 19 of 19 (100%) patients, with hypergastrinemia in 25 (76%) of 33 patients tested. Antral endoscopic appearances included raised or flat stripes of ectatic vascular tissue (89%) or diffusely scattered lesions (11%). Proximal gastric involvement was present in 12 patients (27%), typically in the presence of a diaphragmatic hernia. Endoscopic laser therapy after a median of one treatment (range of 1-4) resulted in complete resolution of visible disease in four patients (13%) and resolution of > 90% in 24 patients (80%). Hemoglobin levels normalized in 87% of patients over a median follow-up period of 2 years (range of 1 month to 6 years) with no major complications. Blood transfusions were not necessary after laser therapy in 86% of 28 initially transfusion-dependent patients. The characteristic clinical, laboratory, and endoscopic features allow for a confident diagnosis that can lead to successful endoscopic treatment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-263
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992

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