JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Meckel's diverticulum in paediatric practice on Crete (Greece): a 10-year review.

BACKGROUND: Although Meckel's diverticulum (MD) is the most prevalent congenital abnormality of the gastrointestinal tract, it has varied presentations and often becomes a diagnostic challenge. The purpose of this study was to review the diverse presentations of MD, record the epidemiologic features for Crete and review the detection techniques and the treatment options.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a review of the records of all children who underwent surgery for MD in the department of Paediatric Surgery of the University Hospital of Crete (Greece) between January 1999 and January 2009.

RESULT: A total of 45 patients (32 male and 13 female) aged 1 to 13 years (median 10 years) with a diagnosis of MD were retrospectively reviewed. The collected data were analysed, looking at age, gender, clinical features, investigations, histopathological findings and surgical interventions. In 25 patients, MD was an incidental finding at laparotomy because of appendicitis. The remaining 20 patients were symptomatic and presented with various clinical features. Nine patients (19.9%) had clinical features of peritonitis; of these, three had perforated MD and six had Meckel's diverticulitis at laparotomy. Four patients were diagnosed with intestinal obstruction. Seven patients (15.5%) presented with lower gastrointestinal bleeding. Ultrasound scans revealed intussusception in three patients, requiring open reduction. The remaining four patients with bleeding per rectum underwent a Meckel's Tc99 scan that showed a positive tracer.

CONCLUSION: All patients with MD underwent Meckel's diverticulectomy with appendicectomy. MD has an incidence of approximately 1 to 2% in our population. It is necessary to maintain a high index of suspicion in the diagnosis of MD paediatric age group because it can be easily misdiagnosed.

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