The watermelon stomach: Long-term outcome in patients treated with ND:YAG laser therapy

Susan M. Liberski, Thomas J. McGarrity, Richard J. Hartle, Vincent Varano, David Reynolds

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93 Scopus citations


Watermelon stomach is an unusual cause of gastrointestinal bleeding and iron deficiency anemia. Its etiology is unknown, but it has been reported to be associated with a variety of diseases, including autoimmune disorders and cirrhosis. We report on the long-term outcome of 15 patients (13 women, 2 men) treated with neodymium-yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) laser therapy. The mean age of patients at presentation was 71.6 years (range, 59 to 85 years). Fourteen patients were transfusion-dependent, requiring an average of 9.6 units of blood in the 12 months preceding diagnosis and treatment. Associated diseases included scleroderma (3 patients), mixed connective tissue disease (1 patient), history of cancer (3 patients), cryptogenic cirrhosis (3 patients), and chronic renal failure (3 patients). In 7 of 9 patients who had an antinuclear antibody test, an elevated titer greater than 1:160 in a speckled pattern was noted. Nd:YAG laser coagulation therapy was administered to all patients without complications and was successful in reducing bleeding in every case. Five patients died during the course of follow-up without signs of recurrent gastrointestinal bleeding. The remaining 10 patients have had both endoscopic and hematologic improvement during a mean follow-up period of 4.4 years from the time of initial diagnosis (range, 2 to 8 years). The 10 survivors are no longer transfusion-dependent and have stable hematocrits. (Gastrointest Endosc 1994;40:584-7.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-587
Number of pages4
JournalGastrointestinal Endoscopy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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