Prospective surveillance study of the management of intussusception in UK and Irish infants


  • Presented to the British Association of Paediatric Surgeons Congress, Aberdeen, UK, July 2010



Intussusception is the most common cause of acute intestinal obstruction in infants. This study examined the clinical presentation, management and outcomes of intussusception in this age group.


Prospective surveillance of intussusception in infants was carried out between March 2008 and March 2009 in the UK and Ireland. Monthly cards were sent to paediatric clinicians who were requested to notify cases of intussusception.


The study identified 261 confirmed cases. The commonest presenting symptom/sign was non-bilious vomiting, in 210 (80·5 per cent) of the infants. Abdominal ultrasonography was done in 247 infants (94·6 per cent) and was diagnostic in 242 (98·0 per cent), compared with plain abdominal X-ray, which was diagnostic in 33 (23·6 per cent) of 140 infants. Enema reduction was carried out in 240 (92·0 per cent) of the 261 infants; the majority (237, 98·8 per cent) had pneumatic reduction with a success rate of 61·2 per cent (145 of 237). Surgery was required in 111 infants (42·5 per cent); 92 operations were as a result of unsuccessful enema reduction, and the remaining 19 infants (17·1 per cent) had primary surgery. Forty-four infants (39·6 per cent of operations) needed a bowel resection. The majority of children (238, 91·2 per cent) recovered uneventfully; 21 (8·0 per cent) had sequelae, one child died (0·4 per cent), and the outcome was unknown for one infant.


This study described current treatment patterns for intussusception in infancy; these represent a benchmark for improved standards of care for this condition. Copyright © 2011 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.