Thirty-two infants underwent surgery, during a 21-year period, for painless rectal bleeding due to Meckel diverticulum. Radiological examinations do not help in the diagnosis of this lesion.
Three infants had no radiological investigation before surgery. Twenty-nine infants had a barium sulfate enema, fourteen an upper gastrointestinal examination, and four had a small bowel examination. The cause of bleeding was not determined.
It is questioned whether radiological examination of the gastrointestinal tract should constitute a part of the routine investigation in a previously healthy infant who has painless rectal bleeding. The yield in making a correct diagnosis is greater from a careful history, the finding of a benign abdomen, and normal findings from sigmoidoscopic examination.
Abdominal scanning with sodium pertechnetate Tc 99m, which is selectively taken up by normal and aberrant gastric mucosa, is a helpful diagnostic tool.