Which physical findings suggest the early disease process in intussusception?

Updated: Dec 20, 2018
  • Author: A Alfred Chahine, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

Early in the disease process, occult blood in the stools is the first sign of impaired mucosal blood supply. Later on, frank hematochezia and the classic currant jelly stools appear. Fever and leukocytosis are late signs and can indicate transmural gangrene and infarction.

Patients with intussusception often have no classic signs and symptoms, which can lead to an unfortunate delay in diagnosis and disastrous consequences.

Maintaining a high index of suspicion for intussusception is essential when evaluating a child younger than 5 years who presents with abdominal pain or when evaluating a child with HSP or hematologic dyscrasias.


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