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Presse Med. 2006 Dec;35(12 Pt 2):1952-65.

[Gastrointestinal involvement in systemic sclerosis].

[Article in French]

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D├ępartement de M├ędecine Interne, Inserm 644, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Rouen.


Gastrointestinal involvement is frequent in systemic sclerosis (SSc), occurring in 75 to 90% of patients with diffuse or limited cutaneous SSc. Although all regions of the gut may be affected, the esophagus is the most common gastrointestinal localization of this disease. If not diagnosed at an early stage, resulting complications may include esophagitis (leading to stenosis, strictures, and Barrett's esophagus) and increased risk of interstitial lung disease. Esophageal manometry is the most sensitive test for accurate diagnosis of motor dysfunction. Antisecretory agents (mainly proton-pump inhibitors) are effective for treating esophageal manifestations. Gastrointestinal involvement is reported in 50-88% of patients with SSc. It remains associated with a poor prognosis and leads to death in 6 to 12% of cases. Gastrointestinal impairment may lead to life-threatening complications, including severe dyspepsia, hemorrhage related to watermelon stomach (gastric antral vascular ectasia), malabsorption syndrome (related to bacterial overgrowth), and intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Treatment for the latter two remains difficult, although octreotide has proven to be effective in SSc patients. Small bowel manometry is useful for careful selection of SSc patients who will benefit from this treatment. Anorectal involvement is frequent in SSc patients (50-70%) and causes fecal incontinence and rectal prolapse. Other digestive manifestations, including liver impairment, are less common in SSc.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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