What is the role of enema studies in the workup of pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding?

Updated: Dec 19, 2018
  • Author: Wayne Wolfram, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Robert K Minkes, MD, PhD  more...
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Enema studies can successfully reduce intussusception in most patients.

Barium enema studies have traditionally been used with success rates of 50-90%. Rates improve when symptoms are present for less than 24 hours. Barium study is contraindicated if perforation is suspected.

Air and water-soluble contrast enemas have also been used with similar success rates. Air enemas require less radiographic exposure but have slightly higher perforation rates, while enemas with a water-soluble (or saline) contrast agent require experienced sonographers.

If an enema successfully reduces intussusception, in-hospital observation is warranted because reoccurrence is not uncommon.

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