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Am J Emerg Med. 1991 Jan;9(1):1-3.

Intussusception and the diagnostic value of testing stool for occult blood.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53201.


A retrospective review was performed to determine the diagnostic value of testing for occult blood in stool of children suspect for intussusception. Ninety-six children had barium enema studies for suspected intussusception. Of the 57 children who had barium enema confirmed intussusception, 29 did not have history or physical findings of gross blood per rectum. Stool was tested for occult blood in 16 of these 29 patients, and 12 (75%) were positive. In comparison, three (20%) of the children who did not have intussusception had stool positive for occult blood. Stool with occult blood was significantly associated with intussusception (P less than .002). The only other clinical factor significantly associated with intussusception was abdominal mass (P less than .02). Vomiting, episodic irritability, poor feeding, abdominal pain and lethargy were not significantly different in the two groups. In conclusion, the authors suggest stool testing for occult blood when evaluating children who present with nonspecific signs and symptoms supportive of intussusception.

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