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Anales de la Facultad de Medicina

On-line version ISSN 2301-1254


DORELO, Rodrigo  and  TAULLARD, Andrés. Prevalence, Endoscopic Characteristics and Management of Subepitelial Lesions of the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract. Anfamed [online]. 2020, vol.7, n.1, e206.  Epub June 01, 2020. ISSN 2301-1254.


Subepithelial lesions (SELs) are incidental findings in endoscopy procedures. Most are benign, but some have malignant potential.


To evaluate the prevalence, endoscopic characteristics and diagnostic / therapeutic management of SELs in upper GI endoscopy.

Materials and methods:

All upper GI endoscopy from January 2011 to June 2018 were included. Cases with missing data were excluded. Indication, age, sex, size, location and histology, findings of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), fine needle aspiration (FNA) and surgical resection were recorded in patients with SELs.


There were 54 SELs in 7983 patients (0.7 %). 72 % were women, and the most frequent indication was dyspepsia (26 %). The most frequent location was stomach (74 %). The average size was 16 mm (5-50 mm), half were less than 10 mm.

Seven had ulcerated mucosa, 4 were located in the gastric body and 86 % were referred for digestive hemorrhage/anemia.

In 26 of 54 (48 %) standard biopsies and in 6 of 54 (11 %) bite-on-bite biopsy were performed, with no diagnostic yield. In 11 % of the cases EUS was performed, all of them larger than 10 mm: 2 ectopic pancreas, one lesion compatible with leiomyoma, 2 lesions of the muscularis propria (leiomyoma/GIST) and 1 extrinsic compression. No FNA was performed. All SELs were managed conservatively.


This is the first national study of the prevalence of SELs in the upper gastrointestinal tract and was comparable to that of other series. Biopsy diagnostic yield was zero. In most cases, lesions were managed according to international guidelines.

Keywords : Subepithelial Lesions; Endoscopic Ultrasound; Upper Gastrointestinal Tract..

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