Systematic review of epidemiology, presentation, and management of Meckel's diverticulum in the 21st century

Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Aug;97(35):e12154. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000012154.


Background: The contemporary demographics and prevalence of Meckel's diverticulum, clinical presentation and management is not well described. Thus, this article aims to review the recent literature concerning Meckel's diverticulum.

Methods: A systematic PubMed/Medline database search using the terms "Meckel" and "Meckel's" combined with "diverticulum." English language articles published from January 1, 2000 to July 31, 2017 were considered. Studies reporting on the epidemiology of Meckel's diverticulum were included.

Results: Of 857 articles meeting the initial search criteria, 92 articles were selected. Only 4 studies were prospective. The prevalence is reported between 0.3% and 2.9% in the general population. Meckels' diverticulum is located 7 to 200 cm proximal to the ileocecal valve (mean 52.4 cm), it is 0.4 to 11.0 cm long (mean 3.05 cm), 0.3 to 7.0 cm in diameter (mean 1.58 cm), and presents with symptoms in 4% to 9% of patients. The male-to-female (M:F 1.5-4:1) gender distribution is reported up to 4 times more frequent in men. Symptomatic patients are usually young. Of the pediatric symptomatic patients, 46.7% have obstruction, 25.3% have hemorrhage, and 19.5% have inflammation as presenting symptom. Corresponding values for adults are 35.6%, 27.3%, and 29.4%. Ectopic gastric tissue is present in 24.2% to 71.0% of symptomatic Meckel's diverticulum, is associated with hemorrhage and is the most common form of ectopic tissue, followed by ectopic pancreatic tissue present in 0% to 12.0%.

Conclusion: The epidemiological patterns and clinical presentation appears stable in the 21st century. A symptomatic Meckel's diverticulum is managed by resection. The issue of prophylactic in incidental Meckel's diverticulum resection remains controversial.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choristoma / complications
  • Choristoma / epidemiology
  • Disease Management*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileocecal Valve / pathology
  • Male
  • Meckel Diverticulum / complications
  • Meckel Diverticulum / epidemiology*
  • Meckel Diverticulum / pathology*
  • Meckel Diverticulum / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Stomach
  • Young Adult