Endoscopic YAG laser treatment of watermelon stomach (gastric antral vascular ectasia) in patients with systemic sclerosis

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2000 Sep-Oct;18(5):605-8.


Objective: Gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE) has been recognized as a rare but important cause of chronic iron deficiency anemia. A number of reported patients were found to have evidence of autoimmune disorders or connective tissue diseases. We carried out this study in order to determine the clinical, endoscopic, and pathologic features in a large series of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) who were diagnosed with GAVE. We also determined the response to YAG laser treatment for chronic blood loss in these patients.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of 20 cases diagnosed over an 11-year period, with diagnoses of both SSc and GAVE.

Results: Twenty patients with SSc presented with prominent anemia and were diagnosed with GAVE. Treatment with endoscopic laser therapy was successful in preventing surgery for bleeding in GAVE in 85% of cases.

Conclusions: GAVE should be considered in patients with SSc who develop chronic iron deficiency anemia. YAG laser treatment can be useful in the treatment of chronic blood loss anemia in SSc patients with GAVE.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia / complications*
  • Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia / surgery*
  • Gastroscopy*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome