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Meckel’s diverticulum in adults: seldom suspected and frequently found
  1. Chance S Friesen1,
  2. Thomas Mario Attard1,
  3. Maria Cole2,
  4. Jay G Berry3,
  5. Matt Hall4
  1. 1 Gastroenterology, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  2. 2 Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  3. 3 Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4 Children's Hospital Association, Overland Park, Kansas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas Mario Attard, Gastroenterology, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, MI 64108-4619, USA; tmattard{at}


Meckel’s diverticulum (MD) is a well-defined diagnosis in children presenting with either bleeding or obstruction. Although anecdotally adult patients may present with complications from MD, their presentation seems to be different, with a reported predominance of non-bleed-related presentations. Reports in this population, however, are limited, and little is known of the epidemiology of MD in older patients. We performed a retrospective analysis of the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality National Inpatient Sample of all US hospital discharges from 2012 to 2016. We identified patients with a primary discharge diagnosis of MD. Data were abstracted as raw numbers and population weighted rates of discharge with age group, income level, length of stay (LOS) and hospital charges as additional information. On average, 2030 individuals were discharged annually; most (71.1%) were adults (>18 years). Although MD was predominant in males in all age groups, the gender ratio decreased with older age categories from 3.5:1.0 (1–17 years) to 1.6:1.0 (65–84 years). LOS averaged 5.3 days with no clear relationship to other parameters. Median income category, however, closely correlated (R2=0.9996) with diagnosis in older age categories. MD may be significantly more prevalent in adult patients than was previously understood. Differences in gender preponderance suggest that gender may influence the pattern of presentation. Diagnosis in older individuals is closely associated with income or socioeconomic status but not hospital charges or LOS.

  • intestinal diseases
  • gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • digestive system surgical procedures

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  • Contributors CSF, TMA, MC, JGB and MH contributed to the conception and design of the work, TMA, JGB and MH contributed to the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data for the work. CSF, TMA, MC, JGB and MH contributed to the drafting of the work, revising it critically for important intellectual content and the final approval of the version to be published, and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval As this study did not involve any protected health information, it was deemed exempt (non-human subject research) from Children’s Mercy Hospital’s institutional board review.

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