A retrospective study was performed of 88 consecutive cases of intussusception that occurred during a 3-year period. Forty-eight patients experienced hydrostatic reduction of intussusception with barium enema and 40 patients required surgical correction of intussusception when barium enema reduction was unsuccessful. Patients with fever or duration of symptoms greater than 24 hours, or ileo-ileocolic type of intussusception had a significantly greater rate of unsuccessful hydrostatic reduction (p less than 0.001). Of 48 cases of intussusception hydrostatically reduced by barium enema, 47 patients received repeat physical examination after reduction, 45 having normal findings. Oral feeding was tolerated in these 47 patients within 12 hours after reduction. All 41 hospitalized patients were discharged within 24 hours of reduction without developing complication; of seven non-hospitalized patients, six reported no complications during the initial 24 hour post-reduction period. The single complication that occurred was recurrence of intussusception (ileo-ileocolic type) in a patient 6 hours after initial reduction; this was the only case in which neither post-reduction physical examination nor trial of feeding had been performed. Children with intussusception hydrostatically reduced by barium enema are at low risk for complication during the subsequent 24 hour post-reduction period. When the pre-reduction course has been relatively uncomplicated, the post-reduction physical examination does not reveal abnormalities, and the patient is able to tolerate oral feeding, close outpatient monitoring appears to be safe.
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