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Intussusception in Children


Intussusception is a condition that causes part of the bowel to fold into itself like a telescope. The fold blocks the bowel and its blood supply, which can damage the bowel. Intussusception often involves both small and large bowels. It is the most common cause of bowel obstruction in children.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Intake and output:

Healthcare providers may measure how much liquid your child gets and urinates. Your child may need to urinate into a container in bed or in the toilet. A healthcare provider will measure the amount of urine. If your child wears diapers, a healthcare provider may need to weigh them. Do not throw away diapers or flush urine down the toilet before you ask a healthcare provider.


An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.

Foley catheter:

A Foley catheter is a tube healthcare providers put into your child's bladder to drain his urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your child's waist. This will help prevent infection and other problems caused by urine flowing back into his bladder. Do not pull on the catheter, because this may cause pain and bleeding, and the catheter could come out. Keep the catheter tubing free of kinks so your child's urine will flow into the bag. Healthcare providers will remove the catheter as soon as possible to help prevent infection.

Nasogastric (NG) tube:

An NG tube is inserted into your child's nose and down to his stomach. Food or medicine may be given through the NG tube. Your child may need an NG tube if he throws up a lot. An NG tube may also be used to help get your child's bowels working correctly.


  • Acetaminophen decreases your child's fever.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until your child's pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Antibiotics help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.


  • Blood and urine tests may be used to find signs of infection or to check kidney function. The tests can give healthcare providers information about your child's overall health.
  • A CT scan of your child's abdomen may show the intussusception, blood vessels, and other tissues. Your child may be given a dye to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.


  • An enema is a procedure used to unfold your child's bowel with pressure. A tube is put into your child's anus. Air or barium is pushed through the tube. Barium is a liquid that helps the bowel show up better on the monitor. X-rays are used to help healthcare providers see the intussusception during the enema.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. Healthcare providers may unfold the intussusception by hand or remove it. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about surgery.


Your child may become dehydrated. The intussusception may return, and he may need more surgery. Your child may develop anemia or an infection. The infection may spread to other organs or his blood. Sever infection can be life-threatening. Without treatment, the intussusception may cause swelling and decreased blood supply to the bowel. Swelling can cause your child's bowel to rip or tear. Parts of your child's bowel may become damaged or die.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Intussusception in Children (Inpatient Care)

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