n South African Medical Journal - Factors determining clinical outcomes in intussusception in the developing world : experience from Johannesburg, South Africa : research

Volume 106, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Rates of open reduction of intussusception were noted to be unacceptably high during an institutional internal audit.

To determine the impact of revised protocols to better select patients for pneumatic reduction (PR), and document associated morbidity and mortality, and the factors that affect the above.
Medical records of patients between 3 months and 3 years of age presenting to the Department of Paediatric Surgery at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2007 to 2010 were reviewed. Determining factors, including duration of symptoms, admission C-reactive protein (CRP) level and weight, were analysed against clinical outcomes, notably PR, bowel resection, relook laparotomy and death.
A total of 97 cases were suitable for inclusion. In 62 of these (63.9%), PR was attempted; this was successful in 32 cases (51.6%), giving an overall successful PR rate of 33.0%. In 7 of the 62 patients, a pneumoperitoneum was documented during the reduction attempt. Of the 65 patients who underwent surgery, 53 required intestinal resection and 12 had spontaneous or manual reduction. Ileostomy was necessary in 9 patients, and 7 required relook laparotomy. The overall mortality rate was 9.1%. Averages of 'determining factors' assessed against clinical outcome were as follows: mean weight (standard deviation (SD)) 7.4 (4.3) kg, mean duration of symptoms (DOS) 3.0 (SD 2.2) days, and admission CRP level 50.9 mg/L (range 1 -â??249.3). Prolonged DOS and a raised CRP level predicted a poor outcome.
Despite marked improvements in management and PR outcomes, intussusception remains associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Prolonged DOS and an elevated CRP predict worse outcomes. The use of these markers in association with clinical factors may assist management decisions, specifically with regard to operative or non-operative management. Awareness and education are key to prompt presentation and early diagnosis. Well-defined protocols introduced at all points of contact ensure early recognition and resuscitation as well as prompt referral for definitive management.

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