Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
Home About us Instructions Submission Subscribe Advertise Contact Login    Print this page  Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size 
Users Online: 5422 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 105-109
Gastrointestinal duplications: Experience in seven children and a review of the literature

1 Pediatrics Surgery Unit of Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
2 Department of Radiology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria
3 Department of Pathology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication23-Mar-2010


Background/Aim: Enteric duplication (ED) is a rare congenital anomaly that can occur anywhere along the alimentary tract from the mouth , down to the anus and the nearby organs. This uncommon anomaly may be asymptomatic or presents with vague symptoms mimicking other common pathologies. We aim to present our experience, management challenges and patterns of ED with a review of the literature. Settings and Design: The study was carried out at a Nigerian Tertiary Hospital (2005-2008 inclusive). Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed seven patients with ED managed in our hospital for sex, age, clinical presentations, duplication size and site, presence of ectopic tissue, complications, associated anomalies, radiological workups, and prognosis. Data was analyzed using SPSS 11.0 for window. Results: Seven children between the age range of 44 hours-10 years had ED, one sublingual and six intraabdominal duplications. Midgut volvulus with long segment bowel gangrene complicated two cases. The diagnosis was incidental in all. Three cases were diagnosed following conventional radiological contrast examination and the rest at surgery. Ultrasound was not helpful in making diagnosis in all the six intraabdominal duplications. Though surgery was recommended for all, one of the patients declined. Only one patient had unsuccessful surgery. Conclusions: ED requires high index of clinical suspicion and careful management. Many cases of nonspecific abdominal pains should be properly evaluated before patients suffer avoidable complications.

Keywords: Bowel gangrene, children, enteric duplication, surgery, volvulus

How to cite this article:
Olajide ARL, Yisau AA, Abdulraseed NA, Kashim IO, Olaniyi AJ, Morohunfade AO. Gastrointestinal duplications: Experience in seven children and a review of the literature. Saudi J Gastroenterol 2010;16:105-9

How to cite this URL:
Olajide ARL, Yisau AA, Abdulraseed NA, Kashim IO, Olaniyi AJ, Morohunfade AO. Gastrointestinal duplications: Experience in seven children and a review of the literature. Saudi J Gastroenterol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Oct 6];16:105-9. Available from:

Enteric duplication (ED) is a rare congenital anomaly that can occur anywhere along the length of the alimentary tract from the mouth down to the anus and the nearby organs. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] Overall, ileum is the most common site of occurrence. [1-7]

The pathogenesis is still vaguely understood. However, errors in normal embryologic canalization or embryologic connection between the developing gut and neural tube, as a part of the split notochord syndrome have been postulated. The diagnosis of an ED cyst is difficult to make clinically because the wide spectrum of symptoms and unspecific signs frequently simulate other diseases. [3],[4] The clinical presentations may be vague, diverse, and varied depending on their location. [5] These include nausea, vomiting, bleeding, pain, swelling, distention, dysphagia, dyspepsia, respiratory distress, chronic constipation, and complications including bleeding, perforation, malignancy, and obstruction of the alimentary tract and vessels. [1],[2],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16] Hence, most cases of ED are diagnosed incidentally, especially, at surgery.

Plain X-rays are of limited use in the diagnosis of ED. Conventional contrast radiographic examinations such as swallow, meal, follow through and enemas could be of value if the ED is tubular. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings may be diagnostic. Computerized tomography (CT) is useful in delineating surrounding structures. [9] Nuclear scan may have a role in the detection of bleeding ED although, it may be unable to distinguish it from Meckel's diverticulum except when other features are identified with concomitant investigations. [10] Once the diagnosis is established, surgical correction is the treatment of choice, preferably complete excision. [9] The outcome is generally good and mortality did not exceed 20% in any series.

We present our experiences with EDs in seven children between 2005 and 2008 and review the literature.

   Materials and Methods Top

We retrospectively analyzed sex, age, clinical presentations, duplication size and site, presence of ectopic tissue, complications, additional associated anomalies and prognosis in seven patients with ED managed in our hospital (2005-2008 inclusive). Radiological work-up of each patient was also analyzed. This is to determine the patterns and the management challenges in these patients.

   Results Top

The patients' age range varied between 44 hours-10 years at presentation. Five patients were male. There were eight ED, four (50%) of which were ileal duplication

[Table 1]. Abdominal swelling and vomiting, a characteristic feature of intestinal obstruction was the most common presentation. The duplication types, age at presentation, treatment and outcome are as shown in [Table 1]. Two cases were complicated by volvulus and bowel gangrene. These two patients presented earlier (within 10 days of life) and were the only patients that presented with bilious vomiting

[Table 1]. The first was a 44-hour-old infant female neonate with bilious vomiting and progressive abdominal distension. She was delivered by emergency caesarean section on account of preeclampsia in the multiparous mother with no history of polyhydramnios. She passed meconium within six hours of birth but had hyperkalemia (5.9 mmol/L) in spite of adequate urine output and features of small intestinal obstruction on abdominal X-rays. Findings at surgery were turbid purulent fluid with meconium in segment of gangrenous twisted ileum around a cystic duplication. About 64-cm of gangrenous bowel was resected and primary bowel anastomosis done. Baby had a turbulent postoperative period from sepsis and jaundice but was managed successfully and discharged on the 19 th day postoperatively. The second case having small bowel duplication with gangrene was 10-days-old at presentation. He had done well in the immediate postnatal period. A few hours after presentation, he developed sudden abdominal swelling, fever, progressively irritable, and vomited several times. Clinical features were in keeping with intestinal obstruction suspected to be malrotation. However, laparotomy confirmed cystic duplication of the midgut twisted around itself. Resection and anastomosis surgery were performed and were uneventful.

Four duplications demonstrated ectopic gastric mucosa while the rest showed mucosal pattern of the adjacent gut most closely related. One parent declined surgery because of fear and lack of funds. Excision surgery and anastomosis gave satisfactory results in all patients, but one died of sepsis and malnutrition three weeks after the surgery.

   Discussion Top

ED, an uncommon malformation of the gastrointestinal tract, may be asymptomatic or presents with vague symptoms mimicking other more common pathologies such as intussusception, volvulus, appendicitis, pelvic abscess, diverticulitis, achalasia, and Hirschsprung's disease. [1],[2],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17] It is most commonly diagnosed when complications such as bleeding, intestinal obstruction or perforation occurred. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] Multiple theories have been proposed to account for ED but no single theory adequately explains all the known duplications. Majority of ED are single, cystic and located on the mesenteric side of the native alimentary tract. All the intraabdominal ED in this study were located at the mesenteric edge of the bowel. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Symptoms are often related to the location of the duplication. Oral and esophageal lesions may cause respiratory difficulties, whereas lower gastrointestinal lesions may cause nausea, vomiting, bleeding, perforation, or obstruction. [4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[13],[14]

All ED presented in this series had obstructive gastrointestinal symptoms with exception of one who had sublingual cystic duplication. This patient presented with drooling of saliva but had no dysphagia or respiratory difficulty despite the size being approximately 5×6 cm 2 . According to Chen

et al.[14] who reported two cases of sublingual duplication cysts, intraoral ED cyst is rare and has the potential for airway obstruction and respiratory distress at delivery that may necessitate immediate tracheostomy where it presents as a large sublingual mass. Unlike in the Chen et al. [14] cases, where antenatal diagnosis with ultrasound allowed for the proper preparation of personnel and equipment in the management of those neonates during delivery even before clamping the umbilical cords, our patient with sublingual cyst did not present until four years of age but still complete cyst excision [Figure 1] was possible.

Approximately 75% of ED are intraabdominal and over half of which are ileal duplications. The findings of four ileal, three colonic, and a sublingual ED in our series is consistent with the pattern described previously. The frequency of cystic ED in our series (five patients) was similar to 75% of cystic duplications reported by some authors. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] The spherical or tubular forms of duplication, which occurred in two of our patients, had colonic involvement. Six of our patients (71.4%) were symptomatic in the first year of life, which is similar to over 60% reported by several authors. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5]

Some ED may not be symptomatic until at school age or adulthood. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Therefore, the diagnosis of a duplication cyst is difficult to make clinically or based on conventional radiologic study including barium examinations (swallow, meal, follow through, and enemas) because of the wide spectrum of symptoms and the unspecific signs that may frequently simulate other diseases. [3],6],[7],[9] None of our case was suspected clinically and this created a challenge intraoperatively. Nevertheless, two patients had positive barium enema findings, one of which had tubular duplication of both ileum and colon. Again, two of our patients suspected to have Hirschsprung's disease clinically, had their cystic duplications complicated by volvulus and gangrene. Only these two patients presented with bilious vomiting. One of them died three weeks postsurgery.

Heterotopic mucosa of gastric and pancreatic origin is a common finding in ED. Ectopic gastric mucosa was seen in four of our patients. Noteworthy complications such as gastrointestinal ulceration and hemorrhage from ectopic gastric mucosa, bowel perforation and peritonitis, malignant degeneration and intussusceptions have been documented. [8­],[9],[10],[11],[12],[15],[16],[17] There could be more than one type of heterotopic mucosa in the same duplication. When acid secreting mucosa lines the lesion, hemorrhage or erosion may result. None of these occurred in our patients that demonstrated ectopic gastric mucosa. Although additional malformations (of the genitourinary or vertebra) have been encountered in 16-26% of the cases in some series, [4] there was none in our series.

Within this series, volvulus complicated by long segment bowel loop gangrene of 64 cm and 45 cm occurred in two patients, respectively. Thus, the signs and symptoms leading to diagnosis varied between duplications, the age of patient, location of the duplication, type of mucosal lining, duration of disease, and presence of complication. [4]

The diagnosis is rarely made until at surgery because of nonspecificity of symptoms and presentations. Radiological work up with ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance (MRI) have been useful. MRI has capability of defining synchronous cyst and spinal cord anomaly but is relatively expensive and scarce. [1],[3],[4] Where duplication is tubular, barium examination if not contraindicated may be diagnostic. Both our patients with tubular duplications were thought to have Hirschsprung's disease on clinical evaluation but barium enema examinations done on them were consistent with ED.

Plain thoracic and abdominal x-rays and ultrasonography are the most commonly used diagnostic radiological methods in our center when gastrointestinal obstructive symptom is present. The plain radiographic features were nonspecific in all our patients but were capable of excluding vertebral anomaly. The diagnoses were missed on abdominal ultrasonography probably due to low index of suspicion and limitation imposed by overlying bowel gas because all our patients with intraabdominal ED presented with gastrointestinal obstructive symptoms.

The ultrasonographic and MRI feature suggestive of duplication is identification of a three-layered image representing the duplication cyst, common wall, and outer bowel wall. [1],[3],[4] These imaging modalities have assisted in prenatal diagnoses in some cases. In many developing countries, this opportunity may remain elusive over time as many mothers still practice home delivery because of ignorance and poverty, let aside the scarcity of MRI and its cost. The role of multimodality imaging cannot be over-emphasized. Where ED is associated with bleeding, availability of isotopic scan facility, with material such as Technetium 99m pertechnetate, could be useful in demonstrating the bleeding mucosa from the ectopic tissue, as demonstrated for Meckel's diverticulum. [10]

There have been some cases of mistaken diagnosis leading to wrong management of patients and attendant complication such as persistent perineal fistula, which occurred in two patients thought to have pelvic abscess and drainage instituted in a series reviewed by Iyer et al. [9]

Treatment of EDs is by surgical means. The main considerations in the management of ED are the age and condition of the patient, location of the lesion, whether it was cystic or tubular and communicating with the true intestinal lumen, and whether it involves one or more anatomic locations. Generally, total excision is preferred, but staged approaches are sometimes necessary. [8],[14],[18]

Sacrificing a segment of normal intestinal tract is sometimes necessary during the resection of ED because of the often-intimate attachment, but one should avoid long segment resection which may result in a short bowel syndrome, though this may be inevitable in cases of gangrenous bowel. Tubular duplications rarely have an autonomous blood supply and since it has an 80-100% incidence of gastric mucosa, simple drainage of the distal end may cause peptic ulceration of the normal mucosa with bleeding or perforation, and thus should be discouraged. The Wrenn method of mucosa stripping can be used even for long tubular duplication, although multiple incisions like a step ladder may be necessary. [19] There have been some cases, though very few, treated by laparoscopic-assisted resection. [17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22] Overall, laparotomy is still commonly performed anyway. The results of surgery are generally favorable, with not more than 20% mortality in any reported series to the best of our knowledge. However, some cases of ED have been reported to have developed malignancy. [11],[12]

   Conclusion Top

ED exists in our environment and demands a high index of suspicion and careful clinical management. Many cases of nonspecific abdominal pains should be properly reviewed and investigated before patients suffer avoidable complications.

   References Top

1.Kuo HC, Lee HC, Shin CH, Sheu JC, Chang PY, Wang NL. Clinical spectrum of alimentary tract duplication in children. Acta Paediatr Taiwan 2004;45:85-8.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Kuo HC, Lee HC, Shin CH, Sheu JC, Chang PY, Wang NL. Clinical spectrum of alimentary tract duplication in children. Acta Paediatr Taiwan 2004;45:85-8.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Somuncu S, Cakmak M, Caglayan E, Unal B. Intestinal duplication cyst associated with intestinal malrotation anomaly: Report of a case. Acta Chir Belg 2006;106:611-2.  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Chou YH, Tiu CM, Pan HB, Yeh CJ, Wei CF, Chang TE. Ultrasonographic demonstration of duplication cyst of the ileum. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei) 1990;46:237-9.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Karnak I, Ocal T, Senocak ME, Tanyel FC, Büyükpamukçu N. Alimentary tract duplications in children: Report of 26 years' experience. Turk J Pediatr 2000;42:118-25.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Otter MI, Marks CG, Cook MG. An unusual presentation of intestinal duplication with a literature review. Dig Dis Sci 1996;41:627-9.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Schalamon J, Schleef J, Höllwarth ME. Experience with gastro-intestinal duplications in childhood. Langenbecks Arch Surg 2000;385:402-5.  Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Adejuyigbe O, Olayinka OS, Sowande OA, Abubakar AM. Gastrointestinal duplications in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. East Afr Med J 2002;79:134-6.   Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Islah MA, Hafizan T. Perforated ileal duplication cyst presenting with right iliac fossa pain mimicking perforated appendicitis. Med J Malaysia 2008;63:63-4  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Yang JG, Li CL, Hao RR, Zou LF. Detection of intestinal duplication on Tc-99m pertechnetate imaging. Clin Nucl Med 2007;32:215-7.  Back to cited text no. 10      
11.Iyer CP, Mahour GH. Duplications of the alimentary tract in infants and children. J Pediatr Surg 1995;30:1267-70.  Back to cited text no. 11      
12.Babu MS, Raza M. Adenocarcinoma in an ileal duplication. J Assoc Physicians India. 2008;56:119-20.  Back to cited text no. 12      
13.Hickey WF, Corson JM. Squamous cell carcinoma arising in a duplication of the colon: Case report and literature review of malignancy complicating colonic duplication. Cancer 1981;47:602-9.   Back to cited text no. 13      
14.Ameh EA, Jimoh AO, Rafindadi AH, Shehu SM. Sublingual gastric duplication cyst causing respiratory obstruction: Case report. East Afr Med J 2000 J;77:394-5.  Back to cited text no. 14      
15.Chen MK, Gross E, Lobe TE. Perinatal management of enteric duplication cysts of the tongue. Am J Perinatol 1997;14:161-3.  Back to cited text no. 15      
16.Castro-Castañeda S, Chávez-Delgado ME, Cerda-Camacho F. Severe hemorrhage intestinal in a child with ileal duplication and brief entity review. Cir Pediatr 2005;18:142-7.  Back to cited text no. 16      
17.Dias AR, Lopes RI, do Couto RC, Bonafe WW, D'Angelo L, Salvestro ML. Ileal duplication causing recurrent intussusception. J Surg Educ 2007;64:51-3.  Back to cited text no. 17      
18.Okamoto T, Takamizawa S, Yokoi A, Satoh S, Nishijima E. Completely isolated alimentary tract duplication in a neonate. Pediatr Surg Int 2008;24:1145-7.  Back to cited text no. 18      
19.Wrenn EL. Alimentary tract duplications. In: Holder, eds. Pediatric Surgery. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 19      
20.Holcomb GW 3 rd , Gheissari A, O'Neill JA Jr, Shorter NA, Bishop HC. Surgical management of alimentary tract duplications. Ann Surg 1989;209:167-74.  Back to cited text no. 20      
21.Hartin CW Jr, Lau ST, Escobar MA, Glick PL. Laparoscopic excision of a newborn rectal duplication cyst. J Pediatr Surg 2008;43:1572-4.  Back to cited text no. 21      
22.Machado MA, Santos VR, Martino RB, Makdissi F, Canedo L, Bacchella T, et al. Laparoscopic resection of gastric duplication: Successful treatment of a rare entity. Surg Laparosc Endosc Percutan Tech 2003;13:268-70.  Back to cited text no. 22      

Correspondence Address:
Abdulkadir A Yisau
Department of Radiology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1459, Ilorin, Kwara State
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.61237

Rights and Permissions


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Thoraco-abdominal duplication cyst of the jejunum presenting as respiratory distress in a young infant—a case report
Nilgün Harputluoglu, Tanju Çelik, Günyüz Temir, Münevver Hosgör
Oxford Medical Case Reports. 2022; 2022(7)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Communicating multiple tubular enteric duplication with toxic megacolon in an infant
Eunju Jang, Jae Hee Chung
Medicine. 2021; 100(18): e25772
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 An ileal duplication cyst case report: From diagnosis to treatment
Valerio D'Agostino, Anna Castaldo, Antonio Catelli, Ilaria Pesce, Stefano Genovese, Luigi Coppola, Alessandro Monaci, Ciro Esposito, Michele Amitrano
Radiology Case Reports. 2021; 16(7): 1597
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Fussiness and New-Onset Diarrhea for 2 Weeks in a 9-week-old Girl
Andrew K. Boulos, Rachel A. Long
Pediatrics in Review. 2021; 42(10): 562
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Duplication cyst of the cecum; a rare cause of intestinal obstruction in infants
Ahmed Elrouby
MOJ Clinical & Medical Case Reports. 2020; 10(1): 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 WITHDRAWN: Combined thoraco-laparoscopic surgery for neonatal alimentary tract duplication
Jianyi Liao, Bin Wu, Xin Li, Xudong Ran, WeiJia Shen, Hongliang Yuan, HongJuan Huang
Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports. 2020; : 101557
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 Adenocarcinoma Originating From a Completely Isolated Duplication Cyst of the Mesentery in an Adult
Seung Yong Shin,Mee Yon Cho,Hoon Ryu,Jae Woo Kim,Hyun-Soo Kim,Jung Min Kim,An Na Ko,Tae-Sun Yu,Hong Jun Park
Intestinal Research. 2014; 12(4): 328
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Duplication of the cervical esophagus: An unusual cause of respiratory arrest in a child
Mengu Ma Tooh,Oumama El Ezzi,Mirko Dolci,Yann Boegli,Christos Ikonomidis,Anthony de Buys Roessingh
Journal of Pediatric Surgery Case Reports. 2013; 1(9): 311
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
9 Enteric duplication in children: Clinical presentation and outcome
Rasool, N. and Safdar, C.A. and Ahmad, A. and Kanwal, S.
Singapore Medical Journal. 2013; 54(6): 343-346
10 Duplications of the alimentary tract. A single center study from 1993 to 2012 [Duplikaturen des gastrointestinaltraktes. Eine single-center-studie (1993-2012)]
Perathoner, A. and Hechenleitner, P. and Unsinn-Freund, K. and Hager, T. and Sanal, M. and Hager, J.
Padiatrische Praxis. 2013; 80(4): 613-632
11 Adenocarcinoma arising in a cystic duplication of the small bowel: Case report and review of literature
Blank, G. and Königsrainer, A. and Sipos, B. and Ladurner, R.
World Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2012; 10(55)
12 Adenocarcinoma arising in a cystic duplication of the small bowel: case report and review of literature
Gregor Blank,Alfred Königsrainer,Bence Sipos,Ruth Ladurner
World Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2012; 10(1): 55
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and Me...
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded988    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 12    

Recommend this journal