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Intussusception is the sliding of one part of the intestine into another.
This article focuses on intussusception in children.
Intussusception is caused by part of the intestine being pulled inward into itself. This can block the passage of food through the intestine. If the blood supply is cut off, the segment of intestine pulled inside can die.
The pressure created by the walls of the intestine pressing together causes:
The cause of intussusception is not known, although viral infections may be responsible in some cases. Sometimes a lymph node, polyp, or tumor can trigger the problem. The older the child, the more likely such a trigger will be found.
Intussusception can affect both children and adults, although most cases occur in children ages 6 months - 2 years. It affects boys four times as often as girls.
Wyllie R. Ileus, adhesions, intussusceptions, and closed-loop obstructions. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 330.
Peterson MA. Disorders of the Large Intestine. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 93.
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