Acute gastric ulcer

Last author update: 1 July 2012
Last staff update: 1 September 2020

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: acute gastric ulcer[title]

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
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Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Acute gastric ulcer. website. Accessed September 26th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Also called stress ulcer
  • Severe form of acute gastritis in which erosion reaches muscularis mucosa
  • Some authors consider large erosions to be stress ulcers
  • If underlying condition resolves, complete healing occurs
  • Common autopsy finding
  • Causes: NSAIDs, steroids, severe physiologic stress (shock, extensive burns, sepsis, severe trauma, increased intracranial pressure, post-intracranial surgery, intensive care unit), systemic amyloidosis, post-chemotherapy, radiation therapy
  • Complications: bleeding (may be massive; 1-4% of patients require transfusion), perforation, obstruction from edema / scarring

  • Specific forms:
    • Curling ulcer: severe burns and duodenal ulcer
    • Cushing ulcer: increased intracranial pressure and gastric, esophageal, or duodenal ulcers
Gross images

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Gastric ulcer

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Usually < 1 cm, often multiple, small brown circular ulcer base (digested blood) anywhere in stomach
  • No induration of margins of ulcer - abrupt lesions with normal adjacent mucosa; no scarring or blood vessel thickening
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Various images

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