Barium enema reductions were attempted in 65 (90%) of 72 intussusceptions, of which 51 (79%) were successful. This represents a success rate of 70% overall. The average hospital stay was 3 1/2 days. There was no mortality and, apart from a recurrence rate of 10%, no morbidity. It is suggested that barium enema reduction should be the treatment of choice provided that there is an emergency service of a paediatric radiologist and the patient is adequately resuscitated, the only absolute contraindication being evidence of pneumatosis intestinalis or peritonitis. Those patients who presented with shock, rectal bleeding, duration of symptoms longer than 48 hours, and pronounced degree of bowel obstruction had a higher rate of unsuccessful reduction. However, only the last two were significant. Further, provided that the clinical condition remains satisfactory and the reduction has been achieved to the caecum a repeat barium enema after some hours may be successful in achieving reflux of contrast into the ileum, confirming complete reduction.
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