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Ann Ital Chir. 2013 May 20;84(ePub). pii: S2239253X13020902.

Spontaneous perforation of Meckel's diverticulum: case report and review of literature.

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Department of General Surgery, Clinic Santa Maria Hospital, Bari, Italy.



Meckel's diverticulum is a congenital anomaly found in approximately 2% of the general population. The complications caused by Meckel's diverticulum include intussusception, volvulus in adolescents and acute bleeding in adults 3. This is an interesting and unusual case of spontaneous perforation of Meckel's diverticulum, in a Caucasian woman.


A 46-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted because of severe abdominal pain and diarrhoea. A CT (Fig. 1) scan of the abdomen and pelvis was obtained, which demonstrated free air and a moderate amount of free fluid in the pelvis tracking up the gutters. The patient was consented and taken to theatre for diagnostic laparoscopy. A normal appendix was identified during laparoscopic examination of the abdomen. An inflammatory mass was seen with turbid fluid collection in the pelvic area on laparoscopy. The inflammatory mass turned out to be a perforated Meckel's diverticulum (Fig. 2). Wedge resection of the perforated Meckel's diverticulum was performed with endoGIA stapler fired at the base of diverticulum. Histopathology showed heterotopic gastric mucosa within the diverticulum and evidence of acute inflammation with perforation. The patient was followed up for two years and is symptom-free.


The total lifetime rate of complications is widely accepted at 4%, with a male-to female ratio ranging from 1.8:1 to 3:1 4,5. Hemorrhage is the most common presentation in children and is reported in over 50% of cases 10. In adults, hemorrhage occurs often but only in 11.8% is present 5. 90% of bleeding diverticula contain heterotropic mucosa, most often gastric mucosa 13. In one study, 11% of children with complicated Meckel's diverticulum (MD) were initially diagnosed with appendicitis.8


The diagnosis of ruptured MD was ultimately made by laparoscopy. This case demonstrates that a healthy degree of suspicion for complicated MD should be present when dealing with a questionable diagnosis of appendicitis. Laparoscopy has a definite role in patients with symptomatic Meckel's diverticulum, especially when the diagnosis is in doubt and it has proved definitive in facilitating diagnosis.

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