Clinical implications of jejunoileal diverticular disease

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Abstract

Congenital and acquired diverticula of the jejunum and ileum in the adult are unusual and occur in approximately 1 percent to 2 percent of the population. They are pulsion diverticula thought to be the result of intestinal dyskinesia. These lesions can produce a significant diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. They are multiple in the jejunum and solitary distally and are characteristically found in 60- or 70-year-old males. The diagnosis may be confirmed with contrast studies of the small intestine, arteriography, or nuclear scan. Consider these disorders in patients with 1) unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding, 2) unexplained intestinal obstruction, 3) an unexpected cause of acute abdomen, 4) chronic abdominal pain, 5) anemia, or 6) malabsorption. Medical therapy is helpful in controlling diarrhea and anemia, while surgical therapy is reserved for hemorrhage, obstruction, perforation, or failure of medical management. Asymptomatic diverticula discovered on routine contrast studies need not be resected. At surgery, incidental diverticula should be removed when evidence of dilated, hypertrophied loops of small bowel with large diverticula is found. Intraoperative air distention will aid in diagnosis. Resection and primary anastomosis is the preferred treatment for non-Meckelian diverticula. Diverticulectomy is reserved for a Meckel's diverticulum without evidence of ulceration. An incidental Meckel's diverticulum should be removed in the presence of mesodiverticular bands or ectopic tissue. Removal of a Meckel's diverticulum is not advised in the patient with Crohn's disease but may be performed in the patient undergoing restorative proctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis.

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