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Oxyntic mucosa pseudopolyps: a presentation of atrophic autoimmune gastritis.

Gastric polyps are often present in the setting of atrophic gastritis. Although the majority of these polyps are nonneoplastic, such as hyperplastic polyps, neoplastic polyps may be present. We discuss nine cases that illustrate an additional nonneoplastic cause of polyps in atrophic gastritis. Specifically, preserved islands of relatively normal oxyntic mucosa in a background of gastric atrophy may appear polypoid endoscopically. The patients (seven women, two men, mean age 64 years) presented with nonspecific abdominal or reflux symptoms (n = 8) and diarrhea (n = 1). Five of five patients tested were confirmed to have hypergastrinemia, and three of three patients tested had antiparietal cell antibodies. Biopsies from the gastric body or fundus of our nine patients showed fragments of atrophic mucosa and separate fragments of preserved oxyntic mucosa. Based upon the histologic characteristics of the atrophic fundic and relatively normal antral biopsies, the gastric atrophy appeared to be of autoimmune-type. The relatively preserved oxyntic glands showed parietal cell hypertrophy and focal mild chronic inflammation. The number of polyps observed endoscopically ranged from less than five to multiple/diffuse. Three patients had persistent nodularities in their stomachs for 1, 3, and 7 years of their follow-up. Our study shows that some patients with atrophic gastritis, autoimmune-type, may present with gastric polyps/nodules that represent relatively preserved oxyntic mucosa. This presentation may be more common than is presently recognized because biopsies of the polyps alone will not show histologic features of atrophic gastritis or reveal the etiology of the polyp itself. Although a limited number of previous studies have suggested this type of polypoid presentation may represent "early" atrophic gastritis, its persistence in three of our patients argues against this hypothesis.

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