Ethiop Med J. 2016 Jan;54(1):9-15.


Background: Intussusception is one of the frequent causes of bowel obstruction in infants and toddlers (1). It involves invagination of a portion of intestine into another(2-4). The peak age of occurrence is between the age of 4 and 8 months. The aim of this study is to review the pattern of clinical presentation and seasonal variation of intussusception in our hospital, and to analyze the mode and outcomes of treatment.

Patients and methods: This is a four-year retrospective study of children aged 13 years and below who were admitted and treated for intussusception between January 2011 and December 2014 at the pediatric surgery unit of Tikur Anbesa Specialized Hospital (TAH) in Ethiopia. Information on the patients' demographic characteristics, clinical presentation, and month of occurrence as well as the operative findings and outcome were obtained from the pediatric surgery unit record book, patient charts, and the operating theatre registry.

Results: One hundred and thirty six cases of intussusception were admitted to TAH, Addis Ababa over a four year period, of which 130 charts were retrieved and analyzed. Males dominated in the series. Age distribution showed that 59.2% of the cases were ≤ one year old, and 77.7 % were ≤ two years old. Abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody mucoid diarrhea and a mass palpated abdominally and/or rectally were the most common modes of presentations, with the classic triad of abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody mucoid diarrhea occurring in nearly two third of cases. The highest peak of presentation was in the month of June with 18 (13.9%) cases. The mean duration of symptoms before presentation to our hospital was 5.2 days with a range of 1-21 days. Intraoperatively, it was found that ileocolic intussusception was the most common type. Simple reduction without bowel resection was possible in 70.8% of cases. There were 44 (33.9 %) complications, wound site infection being the most common occurring in 20 (15.4%) cases and there were 6 deaths.

Conclusion: Intussusception was more common in the wet season. There was delayed presentation with a higher rate of operative management and bowel resection. The mortality rate has decreased significantly compared with a previous study from this institution.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology
  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures* / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Ileal Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Ileal Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Ileal Diseases* / surgery
  • Infant
  • Intussusception* / diagnosis
  • Intussusception* / epidemiology
  • Intussusception* / physiopathology
  • Intussusception* / surgery
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Tertiary Care Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Vomiting / physiopathology