Background: Gastric tumors become increasingly prevalent with advanced age but can be challenging to diagnose in older adults who may present with non-specific symptoms. Here, we report a rare case of an occult gastric tumor associated with mesenteric panniculitis that presented with recurrent falls precipitated by vertigo. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a diagnostically challenging case of cryptogenic gastric tumor associated with mesenteric panniculitis in a 74-year-old female who presented with abdominal bloating and recurrent falls precipitated by vertigo, dehydration, acute kidney injury and electrolyte deficiencies, but had no alarm symptoms. Her symptoms resolved after laparoscopic wedge resection of the gastric tumor.
Conclusions: Our case highlights that while alarm symptoms such as dysphagia, weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding and vomiting are considered indications for endoscopy, clinicians should also maintain a high index of suspicion for gastric tumors in older patients who may present with atypical symptoms.