Meckel's diverticulum natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sudarshana Datta, MD [2]


Meckel's diverticulum is mostly seen in male children (mostly <2 years of age). One fourth of untreated cases of Meckel's diverticulum may develop complications such as intestinal obstruction, hemorrhage, diverticulitis, bowel ischemia, and necrosis. Hemorrhage is the most common complication in patients with Meckel's diverticulum. Bleeding in patients may be minimal, recurrent or massive and shock-producing. The rate of bleeding is assessed based on quantity of blood lost in the stools, appearance of the material passing through the rectum and hemodynamic state of the patient. Depending on the extent of the symptom progression at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis may vary. However, the prognosis is generally regarded as excellent in cases where symptomatic Meckel's diverticulum is treated in a timely manner. Complete recovery may be expected with surgery in majority of the cases.

Natural History, Complications, and Prognosis

Natural History



  • Most common complication in patients with Meckel diverticulum
  • Accounts for one fourth of all complications
  • More commonly seen in:
    • Children younger than 2 years
    • Male sex

Intestinal obstruction



Umbilical anomalies


Meckel's diverticulitis
Source: Wikimedia commons [32]

Other complications


Prognosis of patients with Meckel's diverticulum is as follows: [38]


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