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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Nov 7;19(41):7062-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i41.7062.

Gastrointestinal complications of systemic sclerosis.

Author information

  • 1Xin-Ping Tian, Xuan Zhang, Department of Rheumatology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100730, China.

Abstract

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disease characterized by progressive skin thickening and tightness. Pulmonary interstitial fibrosis and kidney damage are the most important indicators for mortality; however, the gastrointestinal tract is the most commonly damaged system. Virtually all parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can be involved, although the esophagus is the most frequently reported. The mechanisms that cause such extensive damage are generally unclear, but vascular changes, immunological abnormalities, excessive accumulation of collagen in the submucosa, smooth muscle atrophy and neuropathy may participate because these are the most common histological findings in biopsies and autopsies. Most patients with GI tract involvement complain about dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating/distension, and fecal incontinence. These symptoms are generally mild during the early stage of the disease and are likely ignored by physicians. As the disease becomes more advanced, however, patient quality of life is markedly influenced, whereby malnutrition and shortened survival are the usual consequences. The diagnosis for systemic sclerosis is based on manometry measurements and an endoscopy examination. Supportive and symptomatic treatment is the main therapeutic strategy; however, an early diagnosis is critical for successful management.

KEYWORDS:

Diagnosis; Endoscopy; Gastrointestinal tract; Manometry; Systemic sclerosis; Treatment

PMID:
24222949
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3819541
Free PMC Article
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