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World J Surg. 2002 Apr;26(4):438-43. Epub 2002 Jan 21.

Small bowel intussusception in symptomatic pediatric patients: experiences with 19 surgically proven cases.

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Department of Radiology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Kaohsiung, Chang Gung University, 123 Ta-Pei Road, Niao-Sung Hsiang, Kaohsiung Hsien 833, Taiwan.


Nineteen cases of surgically proven symptomatic pediatric small bowel intussusceptions (SBI) were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical presentations included vomiting (89.5%), abdominal pain and/or irritable crying (89.5%), fever (52.6%), bloody stools (26.3%), palpable abdominal masses (15.8%), hematemesis (10.5%), jaundice (5.3%), and seizures (5.3%). The duration between symptom onset and hospitalization ranged between 20 and 336 hours (average 75.8 hours). Two patients with suspected appendicitis and small bowel obstruction were operated on promptly. Sonograms revealed target lesions (average diameter 2.9 cm) suggestive of intussusception in 13 out of 17 patients, with 10 lesions located in the paraumbilical or left abdominal regions. Barium enemas in 12 of these 13 patients demonstrated no colonic lesions. Diagnosis and surgery were delayed in 16 patients (average delay = 32 hours). The remaining 1 patient with positive sonographic findings underwent early surgery after computed tomographic (CT) confirmation of SBI. Surgery revealed ileoileal intussusceptions in 11 patients, jejunojejunal in 4, jejunoileal in 3, and duodenojejunal in 1. Eight patients had lead points. Bowel complications (ischemia, necrosis, or perforation) occurred in 8 patients. The duration between symptom onset and surgery in patients with bowel complications was significantly longer than for patients without complications (p = 0.0026). In conclusion, delayed diagnosis and surgical treatment in symptomatic pediatric patients with SBI were common, leading to a high rate (42%) of bowel complications. Sonographic demonstration of a 2-3 cm target lesion, especially if paraumbilical or left abdominal, is suggestive of SBI and may obviate the need for a barium enema; however, CT is helpful for confirming SBI. In symptomatic SBI, once diagnosed, early surgical referral is strongly recommended.

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