Gastric syphilis: Five recent cases and a review of the literature

Harry A. Winters, Vincent Notar-Francesco, Kenneth Bromberg, Sarah A. Rawstrom, Joseph Vetrano, Veronica Prego, Jackson Kuan, Jean Pierre Raufman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe five cases of early syphilis with gastric involvement and to review the literature pertaining to this disorder. Data Identification: Five patients were diagnosed with gastric syphilis at Kings County Hospital and the Brooklyn Veterans Affairs Hospital between 1987 and 1990. English-language articles pertaining to gastric syphilis were identified by searching MEDLINE and by manually reviewing bibliographies of retrieved articles. Study Selection: Sources containing information pertinent to the clinical manifestations and diagnosis of gastric syphilis were selected. Data Synthesis: The most common clinical manifestations of gastric syphilis are abdominal pain, vomiting, and weight loss. Endoscopic findings in the stomach range from minimal modularity and erythema to deep ulceration. Complications of gastric syphilis include hemorrhage, gastric outlet obstruction, and perforation. The diagnosis can be confirmed by serologic testing and by demonstration of spirochetes on silver and immunofluorescent stains of gastric mucosal biopsy specimens. Response to treatment is usually prompt and complete. Conclusions: The current syphilis epidemic will likely result in an increased incidence of gastric syphilis. Unless syphilis is considered as a cause of gastric mucosal inflammation and ulceration, misdiagnosis may delay appropriate treatment, and serious complications can occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 1992
Externally publishedYes


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