Background: To analyze the spectrum of clinical features, management and outcome of children with documented spontaneous reduction of intussusception (SROI).
Materials and methods: Review of records of 50 children (33 boys, 17 girls; age range 11 days-15 years; mean age 4 years) with documented SROI, in whom intussusception was initially diagnosed by sonography (US) in 44, air enema in 2, and computed tomography in 4, in the 6-year period 1992-1998.
Results: Symptoms suggestive of intussusception were present in 21 (3 of whom had Henoch-Schönlein purpura and 4 had previous ileocolic intussusception reduced by air enema). Intussusception was an incidental finding in the other 29, in 28 of whom the finding was in the small bowel. Intussusception was limited to the small bowel in 43 and was ileocolic in 7. SROI was usually documented on US. Laparotomy performed in only 4 showed no evidence of intussusception or pathologic lead point. Outcome in all patients was favorable.
Conclusions: SROI may present in symptomatic or asymptomatic children and occurs more commonly than previously reported. These intussusceptions are usually short-segment, small-bowel intussusceptions with no recognizable lead point. In asymptomatic patients, conservative observation is warranted. Intervention should be dictated by the clinical findings in symptomatic patients.