Childhood intussusception: a multicentre study in a middle-income country
Background: The outcome in infants and young children of intestinal obstruction due to intussusception is well documented in high-income countries. Our aim was to investigate the current pattern of presentation, management and outcome of childhood intussusception in a middle-income country using a multicentre approach.
Methods: Records of children managed for intussusception in three centres in South West Nigeria were retrospectively reviewed and analysed.
Results: One hundred and ninety children managed for intussusception were analysed. The male-to-female ratio was 1.8:1. The median age was 7 months with a peak age incidence of 3–6 months. Peak incidence was recorded during the dry season. Passage of bloody stool, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever were the most common presenting features. Seventy-three (38.4%) of the patients presented with the classic triad. The median duration of symptoms was three days and only 19 (10.1%) patients presented in less than 24 hours. Ileocolic intussusception was the most common anatomic type, occurring in 166 (87.4%) patients, and was significantly associated with age. Twenty-two (56.4%) had successful hydrostatic reduction, while 165 (88.2%) required surgery. Forty (21.1%) patients suffered postoperative complications. Eleven (5.8%) of the patients died. The median duration of hospital stay was six days, and this correlated with the duration of symptoms and the length of hospital stay.
Conclusion: Delayed presentation is a persisting challenge in the management of childhood intussusception in Nigeria. Prompt referral to a paediatric surgeon may reduce the surgery rate, associated morbidity and the length of hospital stay.
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