Meckel diverticulum is congenital; there is no known genetic predisposition. Most typically, bleeding from a Meckel diverticulum occurs in children, often younger than 2 years. However, a Meckel diverticulum can be diagnosed at any age, and it can be an incidental finding on abdominal surgery.
A Meckel diverticulum can predispose patients to intussusception, ulcer formation, bowel inflammation, perforation, or foreign body entrapment, all occurring at the diverticulum.
The acuity of diagnosing and managing a Meckel diverticulum relates to the severity of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, if present. Hemodynamically compromising bleeding will require more emergent attention with possible surgical resection. A more indolent presentation characterized by abdominal pain of unclear etiology will often be evaluated over the course of weeks to months.
Q43.0 – Meckel's diverticulum (displaced) (hypertrophic)
37373007 – Meckel's Diverticulum
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls
- Midgut volvulus
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Ischemic colitis
- Infectious colitis (eg, due to Salmonella, Shigella, Clostridioides difficile)
- Intestinal arteriovenous malformations
- Immunoglobulin A vasculitis (formerly Henoch-Schönlein purpura)
- Juvenile polyps
- Intestinal polyposis syndromes (eg, familial multiple polyposis syndrome)
- Colon or small bowel cancer
- Constipation (drug induced, chronic pediatric)