Objective. To evaluate the current management of patients with intussusception who have undergone successful reduction by contrast enema in a tertiary care children’s hospital. To compare differences in the incidence of recurrence and adverse events between those patients who were hospitalized after enema reduction and those who were observed in the emergency department (ED).
Methods. This was a retrospective cohort study of children 0 to 18 years of age who underwent uncomplicated enema reduction for intussusception. Hospitalization versus ED observation management were compared for length of stay, incidence of recurrence, and adverse events.
Results. One hundred twenty-three children were identified with an International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for intussusception. Of those, 106 patients (86%) had an enema reduction attempted. Three had a normal enema and were given the diagnosis of “resolved intussusception.” Eighty-three (80%) of the patients had a successful reduction. Seventy-eight (94%) of those patients had no preexisting condition and had complete medical records. Of those 78 patients, 27 (35%) were hospitalized and 51 (65%) were observed in the ED. The mean length of hospitalization was 22.7 hours (range: 10–50 hours), and the mean length of ED observation was 7.2 hours (range: 0–21 hours). Eleven recurrences were observed in 8 of these 78 patients (10% recurrence rate). Four patients in the hospitalized group and 4 patients in the ED observation group had recurrences (5 hours-10.9 months). Four of the 8 patients had a recurrence within the first 48 hours. All first recurrences occurred after the patient had been discharged from the hospital or ED observation unit. No adverse events occurred in any of the patients who had a successful initial reduction (95% confidence interval [0%–4.6%]).
Conclusions. The postreduction management of intussusception is variable at our institution. Previously healthy patients who have undergone successful enema reductions are unlikely to have adverse outcomes. Postreduction observation in the ED or the hospital does not seem to affect outcomes in this clinical setting.