n South African Journal of Surgery - Symptomatic vitelline duct anomalies in children : paediatric surgery

Volume 43, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



A wide variety of anomalies may occur as a result of the vitelline duct (VD) failing to obliterate completely. Most reports on symptomatic VD focus on Meckel's diverticulum, while other anomalies are given little attention. A retrospective review was conducted at our institution. According to the records 18 symptomatic children with VD anomalies were seen over 22 years, including 10 boys and 8 girls aged 11 days - 14 years (median 7.5 months). Twelve patients aged below 10 years (median 28 days) had patent vitelline ducts (PVDs), 3 children aged 13 months, 13 years and 14 years respectively had Meckel's diverticulum (MD), presenting as inflammation, tapeworm incarceration and volvulus respectively. Two patients, both 8 years old, had umbilical sinus, and a 3- year-old had a vitelline cyst. Only 1 patient with PVD had an associated anomaly (intestinal malrotation). The diagnosis of PVD was obvious clinically, but in 1 patient the fistula was demonstrated by fistulogram. The diagnosis of MD was intraoperative in all 3 patients. Treatment was by various types of resection for PVD and MD and excision for umbilical sinuses and cysts. One patient with PVD developed postoperative intestinal obstruction from adhesions, requiring re-laparotomy and adhesiolysis. Two patients with PVD died from sepsis and anaestheticrelated complications, respectively. Although MD is the most commonly VD anomaly, PVD is the most common symptomatic presentation in our environment.

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