Thirteen patients (9 women, 4 men) with anemia from acute and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding were found to have antral vascular disease consistent with watermelon stomach. The median age was 73 yr, with a range of 54-88 yr. Eight of the patients were transfusion-dependent, requiring a median of 5.5 U within the 12 mo before treatment. All were treated with endoscopic neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser coagulation. Endoscopic and hematologic improvement were evident in 12 patients available for follow-up after a median period of 6 mo. There was a median increase of 4 g/dl in hemoglobin concentration; thus, the need for transfusion was eliminated. No major complications were encountered. Laser coagulation for watermelon stomach appears to be safe and efficacious and may be a therapeutic alternative for this disorder.
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