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CT findings in children with Meckel diverticulum

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Pediatric Radiology Aims and scope



Approximately 0.04% of the general population will present with a complication related to Meckel diverticulum. The classic teaching is that symptomatic children with Meckel diverticulum present with painless rectal bleeding and are evaluated with a radionuclide scan. Our subjective experience is that we see children with Meckel diverticulum who present with abdominal pain and are evaluated by CT.


We reviewed the findings on CT in children with pathologically proven Meckel diverticulum to identify characteristic patterns of presentation.

Materials and methods

Databases were searched (2004–2008) for all children who had a pathologic diagnosis of Meckel diverticulum and a CT scan performed prior to surgery. Demographics, pathology, and CT features were reviewed. CT features reviewed included: soft-tissue stranding, abnormal calcifications, bowel obstruction, free air, free peritoneal fluid, cystic mass, intussusception, obvious lead point, location, and whether a normal appendix was identified. The frequency of Meckel diverticulum encountered on CT scans was compared to that found during the same period of time on technetium pertechnetate studies.


The review identified 16 subjects (mean age 9.5 years, M:F 9:7). CT findings included: soft-tissue stranding in nine (56%), small-bowel obstruction (SBO) in nine (56%), intussusception in three (19%), free fluid in ten (63%), cystic mass in four (25%), calcification in none (0%), free air in one (6%), and no abnormalities in two (13%). A normal appendix was identified in only five children (31%). There were three basic patterns of presentation of abnormalities: SBO only in five, intussusception with SBO in three, or cystic mass with inflammatory stranding in four (one with SBO). Also, 2.3 times more Meckel diverticulum was encountered on CT than on technetium pertechnetate studies.


Meckel diverticulum is currently more commonly encountered in children on CT performed for abdominal pain than on technetium pertechnetate studies. There are three categories of appearance on CT: SBO only, intussusception, or a cystic inflammatory mass.

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Correspondence to Lane F. Donnelly.

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Olson, D.E., Kim, YW. & Donnelly, L.F. CT findings in children with Meckel diverticulum. Pediatr Radiol 39, 659–663 (2009).

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