Gastric antral vascular ectasia: the watermelon stomach

Gastroenterology. 1984 Nov;87(5):1165-70.


We report 3 patients with severe and persistent iron deficiency anemia who were found to have gastric antral vascular ectasia. Endoscopically, the patients presented with a characteristic antral appearance so distinctive as to be diagnostic: longitudinal rugal folds traversing the antrum and converging on the pylorus, each containing a visible convoluted column of vessels, the aggregate resembling the stripes on a watermelon; and, less prominently, evidence of mucosal prolapse. In 2 of these patients, with uncontrollable anemia, antrectomy and Billroth I anastomosis were performed; their hemoglobin levels have subsequently remained normal over the following 2 yr. In the third patient, who was achlorhydric, prednisone therapy substantially reduced the rate of bleeding. In all patients, endoscopic biopsy specimens showed dilatation of mucosal capillaries, with focal thrombosis and fibromuscular hyperplasia of the lamina propria; the resected specimens, additionally, show thickened mucosa with tortuous submucosal venous channels. The importance of the condition lies in its recognition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / etiology
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / blood supply*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / pathology*
  • Gastroscopy
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Pyloric Antrum / blood supply
  • Pyloric Antrum / pathology*
  • Thrombosis / complications
  • Thrombosis / pathology