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High Incidence of Symptomatic Meckel's Diverticulum in Patients Less Than Fifty Years of Age: An Indication for Resection

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Meckel's diverticulum is a congenital diverticulum of the small intestine. Complications include perforation, inflammation, bleeding, obstruction, and volvulus. Resection of asymptomatic Meckel's diverticuli has been recommended; however, indications are not well defined. To delineate indications to resect asymptomatic Meckel's diverticulum, the charts of 16 men and 13 women, mean age 55.1 ± 23 years, confirmed at surgery with Meckel's diverticuli, were retrospectively reviewed. Two groups were identified: symptomatic resected (9); asymptomatic (20), which included resected (10) or not resected (10). The age ranges, male:female (M:F) ratios, the height:diameter ratios, heterotopic tissue, surgical management, and complications were recorded and compared. The average age for symptomatic resection was 34.9 ± 23.2 years compared with 64.2 ± 16.5 years for asymptomatic patients (P = 0.0006). Of patients under 50 years of age, 70 per cent (7/10) were symptomatic compared with 10 per cent (2/19) of those over 50 years of age. Overall, the M:F ratios between the groups were similar, and the average M:F ratio was 1.23:1. Surgical management of resected Meckel's diverticuli included 10 segmental resections and 10 diverticulectomies; one of each was laparoscopic. There were no differences in the complication rate, nor in outcomes between the groups. Heterotopic tissue was only identified in symptomatic patients, 33 per cent (3/9) versus 0 per cent (0/10) in resected asymptomatic patients. The height:diameter ratios were similar between the groups. Adult patients with symptomatic Meckel's diverticuli were more likely to be under the age of 50 and to have heterotrophic tissue. Resection of asymptomatic Meckel's diverticulum should be considered in patients under 50 years of age; patients over age 50 years of age will be less likely to benefit from prophylactic resection.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From St. Vincent Health Center, Erie, Pennsylvania

Publication date: 01 March 2007

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