Intestinal intussusception

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Intestinal intussusception is a serious disorder characterized by the fact that part of the intestine (thin or thick) enters another part of the intestine. This telescoping often blocks the intestine and prevents the passage of food and drink through it. Intussusception limits blood supply in the affected bowel.

Intestinal intussusception is the most common cause of bowel obstruction in children, being quite rare in adults. Most cases of intussusception in adults are the causes of medical conditions. On the other hand, most cases of intussusception in children have no demonstrable cause. With attention, intussusception can often be successfully treated without further problems.


1. Overview
2. Causes, signs and symptoms
3. Diagnosis and treatment

Causes, signs and symptoms

In infants, intussusception causes are unknown. Because this occurs especially in spring and autumn, some theories assume a link between the condition and types of viruses that children contacted during these seasons, including specific viruses of upper respiratory infections.

In some cases, intussusception may follow a recent crisis of gastroenteritis. Bacterial or viral infections can cause inflammation of gastrointestinal infection-fighting lymph tissue that lines the intestine, which can lead to pushing a portion of intestine into another part.

In children younger than 3 months or more than five years, intussusception is more likely to be caused by a condition such as increasing the importance of lymph nodes, a tumor or abnormal blood vessels present in the intestines.

Infants and children with intussusception may have intense abdominal pain that often starts suddenly and causes crying, anxiety accompanied by raising knees to chest. The pain is usually intermittent, but recurs and can become stronger. Other symptoms include:

- swollen or distended abdomen
- vomiting – vomiting that contains bile, a yellow-green bitter fluid
- stools mixed with mucus
- moaning due to the pain.

As the disease progresses, the child may lose weight, may have fever and could go into shock. Some children will only have symptoms of sleepiness.

Diagnosis and treatment

The doctor will perform a physical examination of the child, paying special attention to the abdomen. Doctor can sometimes feel the affected side of the abdomen as swollen and tender to the touch and often takes the form of sausages.

If the doctor suspects intussusception, the diagnosis will be confirmed using X-ray radiography, ultrasound or CT. The child will be investigated by a radiologist who will try to push back the intestine with a barium enema or air. The childwill be immobilized during the procedure, he will feel uncomfortable and having cramps, but intervention is safe and takes quite a little time.

When isn’t possible to make enema (when the bowel is cracked) or does not work, your child will need surgery to remove blockage. In some cases the surgeon must remove a small piece of intestine to do so. The child will remain in hospital for a day or two and go home when he’ll be able to eat normally and will defecate. As bowel intussusception is detected quickly, the chances for its recovery are higher.



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