Clinical characteristics of Meckel diverticulum in children: A retrospective review of a 15-year single-center experience

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Meckel diverticulum is the most prevalent congenital abnormality of the gastrointestinal tract in children. The aim of this study was to review and analyze clinical data on the diagnosis and management of Meckel diverticulum in pediatric patients. The records of 102 pediatric patients (<14 years old) who underwent surgery for Meckel diverticulum at our institute between 2001 and 2015 were reviewed. Clinical, imaging, laboratory, surgical, and pathological data were recorded. The series comprised 65 males and 37 females with a median age of 5.6 years. Lower gastrointestinal bleeding was the most frequently identified clinical manifestation of Meckel diverticulum, and this manifestation was observed in 41 patients. Intussusception secondary to Meckel diverticulum was identified in 32 patients. Twelve patients presented clinical features of peritonitis; of these patients, 8 had perforated Meckel diverticulum and 4 had Meckel diverticulitis. In 10 patients, Meckel diverticulum was incidentally diagnosed during other surgeries, including appendectomy and neonatal enterostomy. Seven patients were diagnosed with intestinal obstruction. Technetium-99m pertechnetate imaging offered high diagnostic yield. Open surgery was performed on 59 patients, while a laparoscopic approach was employed in 35 patients. The remaining 8 patients did not undergo resection of the Meckel diverticulum. Histology revealed ectopic gastric mucosa in 42 patients (44.7%), ectopic pancreatic tissue in 35 patients (37.2%), mucosa of the small intestine in 15 patients (16.0%), and both gastric and pancreatic ectopic tissue in 2 patients (2.1%). All patients recovered uneventfully except 2 patients in whom an intestinal adhesion obstruction was identified after discharge. Meckel diverticulum had various clinical manifestations in children. Technetium-99m pertechnetate imaging may be useful for diagnosing Meckel diverticulum. Surgical excision of the Meckel diverticulum may be safe and effective in symptomatic patients, and relatively better outcomes can be achieved using this approach.

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