The most noticeable examples of contraction of the stomach are met with in cases of diffuse scirrhous infiltration, when the viscus is converted into a thick tube, from four to six inches in length, and closely resembles a piece of small intestine. Owing to the dense infiltration of the submucosa the lumen of the organ is so much reduced that it may only admit a catheter of medium size, while its cubic capacity may not exceed one fluid ounce. A considerable degree of contraction also arises from general infiltration by medullary or adeno-carcinoma, but as a rule the shape of the organ is better preserved and its cavity is less diminished.
Diminution in the size of the stomach without direct implication of its walls is a frequent result of non-retention of food. Almost every case of stricture of the cardiac orifice is associated with a contracted stomach ; and if the ingestion of food has been suspended for some time the organ may be retracted beneath the ribs, and reduced to the size and shape of an orange. In like manner, certain cases of pyloric stenosis are found to be accompanied by a contracted rather than a dilated stomach, owing to the excessive vomiting which had existed during the last few weeks of life having maintained the organ in a state of depletion. Lastly, secondary carcinoma of the peritoneum often produces such dense adhesions between the various abdominal viscera that the stomach is compressed and its cavity almost obliterated.