Point-of-care ultrasound diagnosis of small bowel-small bowel vs ileocolic intussusception

Brian L. Park, Joni E. Rabiner, James W. Tsung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Identification of intussusception is feasible with emergency department (ED) point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) due to its ease-of-use and high accuracy. Little is known about the clinical characteristics and outcomes of small bowel-small bowel intussusception (SB-SBI) relative to ileocolic intussusception (ICI) identified by PoCUS. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study at a single, tertiary care, urban pediatric ED of intussusception identified by PoCUS. Demographic information, clinical data, and outcomes, including clinical course, intussusception characteristics, recurrence rates, and interobserver agreement (Cohen's kappa), were evaluated. Results: ED PoCUS identified thirty-seven patients with intussusception over a 4-year period. Twenty-one patients (57%) identified were SB-SBI. The median age was 54 months (IQR 35–76 months) for SB-SBI and 8 months (IQR 5.8–13.5 months) for ICI. The mean diameter was 1.68 cm (SD 0.52 cm) for SB-SBI and 2.74 cm (SD 0.43 cm) for ICI (p < 0.05). Two of 21 (9.5%) SB-SBI subjects required surgical intervention, while the rest spontaneously reduced. Fourteen of 16 (88%) ICI subjects required intervention. There were two (9.5%) recurrences of SB-SBI and 1 (6.3%) recurrence of ICI confirmed on PoCUS. Cohen's kappa was 0.85 (95% CI 0.68–1.0). Conclusions: SB-SBI may be identified more frequently than previously thought when screened with ED PoCUS. Older children with SB-SBI may have underlying lead-points and may require surgical intervention. PoCUS can help differentiate between variants of intussusception that range from a surgical emergency to a transient source of abdominal pain that may be recurrent and otherwise unexplained, allowing clinicians to better manage these patients accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1746-1750
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Abdominal pain
  • Ileocolic intussusception
  • Intussusception
  • Pediatrics emergency medicine
  • Point-of-care ultrasonography
  • Small bowel-small-bowel intussusception


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