Point-of-Care Ultrasound For Differentiating Ileocolic From Small Bowel-Small Bowel Intussusception

J Emerg Med. 2021 Sep 11;S0736-4679(21)00540-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2021.07.002. Online ahead of print.


Background: Intussusception is a common pediatric emergency. The two types of intussusception are ileocolic intussusception (ICI) and small bowel-small bowel intussusception (SB-SBI), and neither are easily distinguished clinically. ICI requires radiology personnel and potentially surgical assistance for its reduction. SB-SBI is managed expectantly, as many resolve spontaneously. Differentiating between ICI and SB-SBI through point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) requires an understanding of their salient features. Identification of the correct type of intussusception immediately assists decision making and patient disposition.

Objective of the review: Our objective was to provide guidance on POCUS technique for intussusception identification, and to review the ultrasound literature differentiating ICI from SB-SBI.

Methods: We systematically searched 3 separate databases and gray literature to identify articles that met our criteria and assessed them for final review. The final articles were graded for quality using The National Institutes of Health quality assessment tool for observational cohort and cross-sectional studies.

Results: A total of 858 articles were identified. Six articles were included in the final review. All studies were conducted in pediatric patients in different countries. Most were found to have a fair quality of evidence. The linear transducer is used when evaluating intussusception. Both ICI and SB-SBI are identified easily on POCUS, but they differ sonographically with respect to region within the abdomen, intussusception parameters, lymph nodes, and other salient features seen on real-time video.

Conclusions: ICI and SB-SBI can be identified and differentiated using several sonographic features. POCUS is capable of expeditiously aiding the emergency physician's decision making and disposition when managing intussusception.

Keywords: Intussusception; POCUS; emergency ultrasound; ileocolic intussusception; ileoileal intussusception; point-of-care ultrasound; small bowel–small bowel intussusception.