Endoscopy 2010; 42: E60
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1243871
Unusual cases and technical notes

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Pseudomelanosis of the stomach

R.  Kibria1 , C.  J.  Barde1
  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
15 February 2010 (online)

A 79-year-old woman was seen in consultation for postprandial epigastric pain and early satiety of 2 months’ duration, along with weight loss of 4.5 kg (10 lb). Her history included depression, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and iron deficiency anemia without overt bleeding. Medications included bupropion, escitalopram oxalate, ferrous sulfate, carvedilol, and furosemide. Seven months earlier, an upper and lower endoscopy for the workup of iron deficiency anemia was unremarkable. Upper endoscopy now revealed dark pigmentation of the pyloric antral mucosa ([Fig. 1]).

Fig. 1 a, b Endoscopic views showing dark pigmentation of the pyloric antrum.

The remainder of the gastric mucosa appeared normal. Biopsy specimens revealed brown pigment deposition within macrophages in the lamina propria ([Fig. 2]).

Fig. 2 High magnification view (× 400) of stained gastric mucosa showing a collection of cells in the lamina propria containing brown pigment.

A positive Prussian blue stain indicated hemosiderin deposition ([Fig. 3]).

Fig. 3 High magnification view (× 400) of Prussian-blue-stained gastric mucosa, showing a positive reaction (blue coloration of the pigment).

HMB-45 staining for melanoma and a computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen were unremarkable. A gastrointestinal cause for the symptoms could not be found, and severe depression was considered an etiologic factor. Among the patient’s risk factors for pseudomelanosis was the use of ferrous sulfate supplements, which have been implicated in the development of pseudomelanosis.

Gastric pseudomelanosis is extremely rare and the literature is limited to two case reports [1] [2]. Iron deposition has been associated with gastrointestinal bleeding, hemochromatosis, chronic renal failure, enteric iron, and several antihypertensive medications [3]. This case report strengthens the association between pseudomelanosis of the stomach and oral iron therapy. Although a rare entity, physicians should be aware of it to facilitate a prompt diagnosis and avoid unnecessary testing.



R. Kibria, MD 

Department of Gastroenterology
Wright State University School of Medicine

4100 W Third Street
Ohio 45428

Fax: +937-268-4737

Email: rekibria@gmail.com