Meckel Diverticulum Presenting as Abdominal Pain and Subsequent Bowel Perforation

Taylor N. LaFlam, Andrew Phelps, Won Tak Choi, Aaron E. Kornblith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Abdominal pain is a common presenting symptom with a broad array of potential etiologies. Meckel diverticulum (MD), the most common congenital gastrointestinal malformation, classically presents with painless gastrointestinal bleeding. However, it can also lead to diverticulitis, intussusception, or obstruction, manifesting as abdominal pain. Case Report: A 2-year-old boy presented to the emergency department with intermittent abdominal pain, vomiting, and loose stools. Abdominal ultrasound findings were consistent with ileitis and ileocolic intussusception, but no such intussusception was seen during fluoroscopic air enema. The patient was admitted for serial abdominal examinations and subsequently developed an acute abdomen. Emergent laparotomy revealed a perforated MD. Small bowel resection and primary anastomosis were performed and no complications developed. Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?: The presence of an MD can lead to diverticulitis, intussusception, or obstruction, putting the patient at risk of bowel perforation. As such, it is important to consider MD in the differential diagnosis of patients with abdominal pain. In cases in which sonographic findings are ambiguous or transient, additional observation or alternative imaging, such as computed tomography, should be strongly considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e251-e254
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Meckel diverticulum (complications)
  • Meckel diverticulum (diagnosis)
  • abdominal pain
  • bowel perforation
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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