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An Pediatr (Barc). 2009 Sep;71(3):215-20. doi: 10.1016/j.anpedi.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 Jul 30.

[Saline enemas as treatment of faecal impaction in paediatric emergencies].

[Article in Spanish]

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Urgencias de Pediatría, Hospital de Cruces, Barakaldo, Bizkaia, España.



To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of the treatment and to know the perception and acceptance of the procedure on the part of the patient, his family and the sanitary staff.


Descriptive and prospective study of the children between 0 and 14 years of age who were diagnosed of faecal impaction at the time when they came to the Paediatric Emergency Department of the Cruces Hospital and the professional who cared for them decided to make a treatment with saline enemas. In a form were picked up the variables.


During the period of time between January and June of 2008, 79 patients were studied, with a mean age of 5.8 +/- 3.4 years. The mean time response after the enema administration was 26 +/- 24.16 minutes. A 38% of the children reported to have no relief and a 62% did report relief, of which 42.9% felt a symptomatic relief and 12.7% a complete relief. Of the child <3 years, the 48.6% showed some degree of relief, between 3 and 7 years the 70.4% and the >7 years the 75%. According to the weight, the 48.6% of the children <20 kg felt relief, the 78.3% of the children between 20 and 30 kg and the 65% of the >30 kg. In the evaluation of the treatment by the parents and the investigator, the mean punctuation in a scale from 0 (completely unsatisfactory) to 10 (very satisfactory), was of 5. A 50% of the children referred some degree of discomfort, in the 83% of cases, slight.


The administration of saline enemas relieves the symptoms of faecal impaction in a high percentage of patients. This treatment is generally well tolerated, with no significant adverse effects and is well accepted by the children's families and by the healthcare staff.

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