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Small Intestinal Diverticulosis

  • Author: Rohan C Clarke, MD; Chief Editor: Julian Katz, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 26, 2015
 

Background

Small intestinal diverticulosis refers to the clinical entity characterized by the presence of multiple saclike mucosal herniations through weak points in the intestinal wall.[1, 2, 3] Small intestinal diverticula are far less common than colonic diverticula. The singular form is diverticulum, and the plural form is diverticula.

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Pathophysiology

The cause of this condition is not known. It is believed to develop as the result of abnormalities in peristalsis, intestinal dyskinesis, and high segmental intraluminal pressures.

The resulting diverticula emerge on the mesenteric border (ie, sites where mesenteric vessels penetrate the small bowel). Diverticula are classified as true and false. True diverticula are composed of all layers of the intestinal wall, whereas false diverticula are formed from the herniation of the mucosal and submucosal layers. Meckel diverticulum is a true diverticulum.

Diverticula can be classified as intraluminal or extraluminal. Intraluminal diverticula and Meckel diverticulum are congenital. Extraluminal diverticula may be found in various anatomic locations and are referred to as duodenal, jejunal, ileal, or jejunoileal diverticula.

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Epidemiology

Frequency

United States

Duodenal diverticula are approximately 5 times more common than jejunoileal diverticula. The actual incidence of both types of diverticula is not known because these lesions are usually asymptomatic. The incidence at autopsy of duodenal diverticula is 6-22%. Jejunal diverticula are less common, with a reported incidence of less than 0.5% on upper gastrointestinal radiographs and a 0.3-1.3% autopsy incidence.

The international incidence parallels that of the United States.

Race-, sex-, and age-related demographics

No known racial predilection exists.

Duodenal diverticula occur in equal numbers of men and women, while a slight male preponderance exists in jejunoileal diverticula.

Most cases of duodenal diverticula are observed in patients older than 50 years, while jejunoileal diverticula are commonly observed in patients aged 60-70 years. Reports of this condition in young adults exist as well.

Mortality/Morbidity

The prognosis is good even with complications.

Complications

Complications include the following:

  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Diverticulitis
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Intestinal hemorrhage
  • Malabsorption

Small bowel diverticula are generally asymptomatic, with the exception of Meckel diverticulum.

Major complications include diverticulitis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, intestinal obstruction, acute perforation, and pancreatic and/or biliary disease in duodenal diverticula. Mortality is influenced by patients' age, nature of complications, and timeliness of intervention.

Unusual complications associated with Meckel diverticulum that have been reported include intussusception within its own lumen,[4] formation of a hernia sac with its mesentery and band,[5] and axial torsion and gangrene.[6]

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Rohan C Clarke, MD Director, Department of Gastroenterology, JPS Health Systems Hospital

Rohan C Clarke, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: Cubist; <br/>Received reimbursement from Boston Scientific for learning observership for eus; Received honoraria from Optimer pharmaceutical for speaking and teaching.

Coauthor(s)

Oluyinka S Adediji, MD, MBBS Consulting Staff, Department of Adult and General Medicine, Health Services Incorporated, Montgomery, Alabama

Oluyinka S Adediji, MD, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Lisa Anne Ozick, MD Attending Gastroenterologist, Leumit Health Clinic, Israel

Lisa Anne Ozick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rachael M Ferraro, DO Internal Medicine Hospitalist, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Little Company of Mary Hospital

Rachael M Ferraro, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Osteopathic Internists, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

BS Anand, MD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine

BS Anand, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Julian Katz, MD Clinical Professor of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine

Julian Katz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Geriatrics Society, American Medical Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, American Trauma Society, Association of American Medical Colleges, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

David Eric Bernstein, MD Director of Hepatology, North Shore University Hospital; Professor of Clinical Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

David Eric Bernstein, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF Chief of Hepatology, Hunter Holmes McGuire Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association

Disclosure: Received grant/research funds from Novartis for other; Received grant/research funds from Bayer for other; Received grant/research funds from Otsuka for none; Received grant/research funds from Bristol Myers Squibb for other; Received none from Scynexis for none; Received grant/research funds from Salix for other; Received grant/research funds from MannKind for other.

References
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