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Management of alimentary tract duplication in children.

Duplication of the alimentary tract is rare but potentially dangerous. Five of 72 children with alimentary tract duplication treated between 1973 and 1992 died from postoperative complications; a further ten required more than one operation. Ileal duplications were the commonest, occurring in 16 patients (22 per cent). Thoracoabdominal duplications were the most complicated and responsible for much of the overall morbidity and mortality. Surgical complications were related to the size and location of the duplication, communication with the gastrointestinal tract or vertebral canal, presence of heterotopic gastric mucosa and involvement of mesenteric vessels. Complete excision of the duplication should be possible in most cases.

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