Meckel’s Diverticulum

Other Known Aliasesnone

DefinitionVestigial remnant of the omphalomesenteric (vitiline) duct

Clinical Significance It is the most common malformation in the GI tract and is mainly asymptomatic.  When symptoms do occur, it commonly presents as painless, rectal bleeding in children.  The “Rule of 2s” will help you remember the facts of this pathology:

  • Effects 2% of the population
  • 2% of these will be symptomatic by age 2
  • 2 types of heterotopic tissue
  • Boy-to-girl ratio is 2:1
  • Usually 2″ in length
  • 2′ from the ileocecal valve

HistoryNamed after Johann Friedrich Meckel, the Younger (1781-1833), who was a German anatomist and received his medical doctorate from the University of Halle in 1802. He then went on to become full professor of anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics at the University of Halle in 1808 after studying Würzburg, Vienna, and Paris. He made tremendous advancements in the area of anatomy and embryonic development with special attention to birth defects and abnormalities, where he pioneered the early study of teratology. He first published his eponymous finding in 1809 in an article entitled “Über die Divertikel am Darmkanal” in the Halle Archives of Physiology. Of note, he comes from a prestigous medical family, where both his father, grandfather, and brother were physicians….hence the surname “the Younger”.


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