Background: Intussusception is the common acute abdomen in children with difficult clinical diagnosis. The routine ultrasound has recently been proposed as the initial diagnostic modality with high accuracy, but is not available for 24 h by gastroenterologists. We aimed to evaluate the validation of bedside ultrasound for intussusceptions performed by pediatric emergency physicians with ultrasound training during the night or holiday.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in children with suspected intussusceptions when routine ultrasounds by gastroenterologists were not available over the period from July 2004 to July 2008. Patients were divided into two groups: those diagnosed by emergency physicians with ultrasound training and without training. The clinical characteristics and course for all patients were reviewed and compared for seeking the difference.
Results: A total of 186 children were included. One hundred and thirteen (61%) children were diagnosed by pediatric emergency physician with ultrasound training. The clinical symptoms were not statistically different between the two groups. The diagnostic sensitivity of the ultrasound training group was significantly higher (90% vs. 79%, p = 0.034). Children of the training group also had significantly shorter hospital stay duration at emergency departments before reduction (2.41 ± 2.01 vs. 4.58 ± 4.80 h, p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Bedside ultrasound performed by pediatric emergency physicians with ultrasound training is a sensitive test for detecting intussusceptions. Knowledge and use of bedside ultrasound can aid the emergency physician in the diagnosis of pediatric intussusceptions with less delay in treatment.