Watermelon stomach: clinical aspects and treatment with argon plasma coagulation
Arquivos de Gastroenterologia
BACKGROUND: Gastric antral vascular ectasia is a disorder whose pathogenetic mechanism is unknown. The endoscopic treatment with argon plasma coagulation has been considered one of the best endoscopic therapeutic options. AIM: To analyze the endoscopic and clinical features of gastric antral vascular ectasia and its response to the argon plasma coagulation treatment. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighteen patients were studied and classified into two groups: group 1 - whose endoscopic aspect was
... (watermelon) or of the diffuse confluent type; group 2 - diffuse spotty nonconfluent endoscopic aspect. RESULTS: Group 1 with eight patients, all having autoimmune antibodies, but one, whose antibodies were not searched for. Three were cirrhotic and three had hypothyroidism. All had gastric mucosa atrophy. In group 2, with 10 patients, all had non-immune liver disease, with platelet levels below 90.000. Ten patients were submitted to argon plasma coagulation treatment, with 2 to 36 months of follow-up. Lesions recurred in all patients who remained in the follow-up program and one did not respond to treatment for acute bleeding control. CONCLUSION: There seem to be two distinct groups of patients with gastric antral vascular ectasia: one related to immunologic disorders and other to non-immune chronic liver disease and low platelets. The endoscopic treatment using argon plasma coagulation had a high recurrence in the long-term evaluation.