Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Gastroenterol. 1997 May;92(5):763-71.

Gastrointestinal manifestations of progressive systemic sclerosis.

Author information

University of Regensburg, Department of Internal Medicine I, Germany.


Management of patients with progressive systemic sclerosis requires a thorough gastroenterological examination and a profound knowledge of possible gastrointestinal manifestations of the disease. The esophagus is the gastrointestinal segment most often involved. Smooth muscle atrophy leads to a loss of esophageal peristalsis, a defect of the lower esophageal sphincter, and gastric hypomotility, thus predisposing to severe reflux esophagitis. A rational diagnostic approach includes standard manometry and endoscopy. The prevention of strictures is the main aim of therapeutic efforts that may consist of lifestyle changes, prokinetic drugs, long-term application of proton pump inhibitors, and, if inevitable, surgical intervention. Involvement of the small intestine and colon is less common but may lead to life-threatening complications like chronic pseudoobstruction or pneumatosis cystoides intestinalis. The main therapeutic options consist of antibiotics for bacterial overgrowth and nutritional supplementation. Recently, a preliminary study with octreotide yielded promising results. Anorectal dysfunction can lead to fecal incontinence or rectal prolapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center