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Chapter 22 (page 100)
Partial or Intramural Gastric Diverticulum
The term partial gastric diverticulum was first used by Samuel (l955) to indicate a
projection of the mucosa into, but not through the muscular coats of the stomach. As it
does not extend as far as the serosa, external inspection of the stomach at operation will
not reveal any abnormality. He described a case, diagnosed by radiography and
subsequently confirmed at operation, in whom a partial diverticulum was located on the
greater curvature of the pyloric "antrum" approximately 1.0mm orally to the pyloric ring.
It was surrounded by a shallow, smooth-walled defect which was considered to be due to
oedema. Radiographically it had to be differentiated from a gastric ulcer, a small
ulcerated tumor and ectopic pancreatic tissue (in which barium-filled ducts might
resemble small diverticula) (Chap. 21). However, these conditions could be excluded
because of the smooth outline and narrow neck of the diverticulum, the normal mucosal
pattern in its vicinity and the absence of associated spasm.
Flachs et al. (l965) described 2 similar cases. In both the partial diverticulum was
situated on the greater curvature close to the pyloric ring. In one of the cases it was
mistaken for a gastric ulcer, resulting in partial gastrectomy. The resection specimen
showed a mucosal pouch protruding into the submucosa, with the muscular layer intact
and the serosa smooth and glistening. It was pointed out that a mucosal pouch could
show variable filling with barium during the radiographic examination; the surrounding
musculature might contract to such an extent that it could disappear almost completely.
In contrast, a gastric ulcer showed little change in appearance.
Rabushka et al. (l968) described the radiographic appearances of a case (confirmed at
operation) in which a partial diverticulum, entirely contained within the wall of the
stomach, was situated on the greater curvature 4.0 to 5.0 cm proximal to the pylorus. (In
another case a diverticulum on the greater curvature of the pars media was also
considered to be of the intramural variety, but this was not proved and it could possibly
have been a "conventional" diverticulum).
The condition is rare. Treichel et al. (l976) encountered 4 patients (one of whom had 2
intramural diverticula) during the course of 10,000 routine upper gastrointestinal barium
investigations. All cases were confirmed by endoscopy and 2 also by operation. The
diverticula typically occurred on the greater curvature of the "antrum" within 1.0 to 4.0
cm of the pylorus, measured 4.0 to 10.0 mm in diameter, presented as round or oval
pouches with narrow necks, and changed to some extent in size and shape during
contraction of the walls. Complete filling of a diverticulum could be achieved by
administering a spasmolytic during a double contrast examination. In the case where
radiography showed 2 diverticula, endoscopy initially failed to reveal the lesions;
however, they were visualized at a second attempt. It was stated that the lesions were
easier to detect by radiography than by endoscopy.
Treugut and Olsson (l980) described another case in which the lesion typically presented
at radiography as a smooth-walled, lenticular, intramural outpouching on the greater
curvature of the "antrum" approximately 3.0 cm proximal to the pylorus. It varied
somewhat in size but never exceeded 10.0 mm in diameter. The ostium was surrounded
by a circular fold; in other respects the mucosal folds were normal, which differentiated
it from a gastric ulcer and an ulcerated tumor. Confirmation was obtained by endoscopy
Cockrell et al. (l984) encountered reports of 13 cases in the literature and added 3 of their
own. To them the striking feature was the unique location of the lesion on the greater
curvature of the "distal antrum". There was no explanation for its occurrence in this
particular situation and the etiology remained unknown.
Dickinson and Freeman (l986) reviewed the radiographic and endoscopic features of the
condition and described 6 cases of their own. All were diagnosed at radiography, 4 being
confirmed by endoscopy. It was pointed out that while a partial gastric diverticulum was
a rare and clinically insignificant lesion, it was liable to cause diagnostic confusion and
might lead to inappropriate treatment (e.g. partial gastrectomy) if not recognized.
We have encountered the following 3 cases of intramural gastric diverticula during the
last 13,600 upper gastrointestinal barium investigations.
Case 22.1. M.W., 55 year old female, complained of cramp-like epigastric pains
diurnally and occasionally nocturnally after a late evening meal. At times she felt
nauseous. Physical examination revealed signs of chronic bronchitis and iron deficiency
anaemia. Gastroscopy showed a sliding hiatus hernia without oesophagitis. No evidence
of ulceration or other lesion was seen in the stomach and duodenum. A second
gastroscopy six years later showed no abnormality in the oesophagus, stomach and
duodenum. Repeat gastroscopy the following month was difficult due to lack of patient
co-operation. The oesophagus was normal. The pyloric region appeared somewhat
hyperaemic and oedematous, the remainder of the stomach being normal. The duodenum
could not be visualized.
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