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"What is Watermelon Stomach?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is Watermelon Stomach?


I'm 57 and I have been living with Crohn's Disease for 8 years. I had the disease in a state of remission for several years, but then recently had a severe flare up with some complications that I've never had before. My doctor wants to do tests for ""Watermelon stomach"". What is it?


Watermelon stomach, known clinically as GAVE (gastric antral vascular ectasia), is a condition in which the mucosal vessels that line the stomach become inflamed and dilated. The name comes from the appearance of these inflamed vessels on endoscopy, they appear as red lines radiating from one end of the stomach to the other, somewhat like the stripes on a watermelon. The morbidity of this condition comes from the fact that these dilated, inflamed vessels tend to bleed. The result is slow, but relatively constant blood loss from the stomach that results in anemia (low red blood cell counts) which can make patients feel quite weak and can be dangerous to your health for many reasons. In terms of who gets GAVE, the majority of cases happen without any other associated condition. to my knowledge, there is no association with crohn's. The main conditions that are commonly seen with GAVE are cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and systemic sclerosis (an auto-immune disease of the connective tissue). the majority of cases are found upon workup of an unknown source of GI bleeding leading to anemia. The diagnosis is made upon visualization of the characteristic appearance (as described above) on endoscopy as well as through tissue biopsy of the vessels. The treatment consists of chronic blood transfusions in addition to argon-plasma coagulation (essentially burning the inflamed vessels so that they stop leaking blood). another option is placing small bands around problem vessels during endoscopy. hope this helps!

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