Gastric Involvement in Systemic Sclerosis: A Prospective Study

Marie, Isabelle; Levesque, Hervé; Ducrotté, Philippe; Denis, Philippe; Hellot, Marie-France; Benichou, Jacques; Cailleux, Nicole; Courtois, Hubert
January 2001
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Jan2001, Vol. 96 Issue 1, p77
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES: This study aims to assess the prevalence of gastric electrical activity dysfunction with cutaneous electrogastrography (EGG), disturbances of gastric emptying function using radiopaque pellets, and gastric endoscopic abnormalities in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). We also investigate for an association between EGG and gastric emptying data with clinical manifestations and esophageal motor disturbances. METHODS: Fasting and postprandial gastric electrical activity was studied in 22 consecutive patients with SSc (17 with and 5 without clinical gastric manifestations) and 22 age-and sex-matched healthy subjects. Gastric emptying of radiopaque pellets and gastroscopy were also performed in SSc patients. RESULTS: The prevalence of EGG disturbances was as high as 81.82% in SSc patients. SSc patients exhibited, compared with controls, higher median percentage of dominant frequency in bradygastria during the fasting period and lower median values for postprandial electrical power and post-prandial to fasting ratio for electrical power. Gastric emptying of radiopaque pellets was delayed in 11 SSc patients, and gastroscopy demonstrated "watermelon stomach" in 3 SSc patients. No correlation was found between the severity of gastric impairment and clinical presentation, SSc duration and subsets, and esophageal manometric impairment. CONCLUSIONS: Our study underlines the high frequency of gastric dysfunction in SSc patients. It suggests the usefulness of EGG in SSc in noninvasively detecting disorders of gastric electrical activity at an early stage and symptomatic patients with gastroparesis (because there was a correlation between values of postprandial to fasting ratio for electrical power of < 1 on EGG and delayed gastric emptying). Gastric-emptying evaluation of radiopaque pellets may further be a helpful method to depict symptomatic SSc patients with gastroparesis. Finally, our series confirms that watermelon stomach diagnosis should be excluded in SSc patients presenting with gastrointestinal hemorrhage or with anemia related to iron deficiency.


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