Which GI findings are characteristic of scleroderma?

Updated: Sep 09, 2019
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Atrophy of smooth muscle and submucosal fibrotic changes leading to decreased peristalsis throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract cause gastroesophageal reflux disease [GERD], gastroparesis, severe constipation, and pseudo-obstruction (see image below).

Barium swallow demonstrating reflux into the dista Barium swallow demonstrating reflux into the distal esophagus, as well as an accordion appearance in the duodenum.

Other GI findings are as follows:

  • Abdominal distention

  • Malabsorption

  • Mucosal telangiectasia

  • Anal sphincter incompetence

  • Anemia caused by blood loss from either mucosal telangiectasias or gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE), also known as “watermelon stomach

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