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Novmber 8, 1976

Diagnosis of Meckel Diverticulum-Reply

Author Affiliations

Walter Reed Army Medical Center Washington, DC

JAMA. 1976;236(19):2172. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270200012008

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My thanks to Dr Matt for the reference to his review of the Meckel diverticulum literature through 1938.

He reiterates a major caution: 99mTc scanning for Meckel diverticulum is not 100% reliable. Of interest is a recent study of the use of this diagnostic technique (Journal of Nuclear Medicine 17:553, 1976) that reports 78% accuracy.

Scanning with 99mTc is expensive. In Army teaching hospitals the estimated cost is $50, but private fees on the east coast may reach $150, exceeding the cost in Dr Matt's area.

A properly conceived99mTc scan would not delay an urgently needed procedure. I don't endorse its use for patients with acute abdominal emergency or unstable gastrointestinal bleeding, although no special patient preparation is needed and the time from isotope injection to completion of scans need not exceed 45 minutes.

Retrospectively, I agree that our case was typical. The scan,