Intussusception in a young adult with bloody diarrhoea

Int J Surg. 2004;2(2):121-2. doi: 10.1016/S1743-9191(06)60065-4.


Bloody diarrhoea is a common presenting symptom in acute surgery, medicine and also in out-patient clinics. Intussusception, although a common cause of small bowel obstruction and rectal bleeding in infants, is rare in adults. In contrast to paediatric cases, where the majority can be treated by pneumatic or hydrostatic reduction, the vast majority of adult cases of intussusception are due to a tumour of some kind and will require operation and resection. Diagnostically plain radiology, CT, ultrasound and endoscopy are useful since the clinical picture is often unclear. We present a case of a young man who presented with acute bloody diarrhoea. The diagnosis was made colonoscopically and he was treated surgically. The case underlines the need for surgeon to maintain an open mind when investigating unexceptional symptoms.