Intussusception in a preterm neonate; a very rare, major intestinal problem--systematic review of cases

J Perinat Med. 2004;32(2):190-4. doi: 10.1515/JPM.2004.036.


Intussusception is an extremely rare disorder in preterm infants and it is often misdiagnosed as necrotizing enterocolitis. We report a case of intussusception in a 30-day-old preterm infant of 26 weeks of gestational age and a birthweight of 610 g who was diagnosed via abdominal ultra sonography. A systematic review of the literature was performed and reports on 23 previous cases were found. The presence of recognizable causes of intussusception in preterms, such as Meckel's diverticulum, bowel polypus, etc. was very infrequent. Comorbidity before and after intussusception is heterogeneous and related to prematurity. The intussusception is predominantly located in the small bowel (91.6%)--ileal or jejunal. The condition is misdiagnosed as NEC and managed conservatively until clinical deterioration occurs. A definitive diagnosis is thus established during abdominal surgery, which is usually delayed an average of 9.5 days from the onset of symptoms. Our case illustrates the capability of abdominal ultrasonography to establish early diagnosis of intussusception in the premature newborn.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / surgery
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intussusception / diagnosis*
  • Intussusception / diagnostic imaging
  • Intussusception / surgery
  • Jejunal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Jejunal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Jejunal Diseases / surgery
  • Radiography
  • Twins
  • Ultrasonography