Intussusception can cut off the blood supply to the affected portion of the intestine. If left untreated, lack of blood causes tissue of the intestinal wall to die. Tissue death can lead to a tear (perforation) in the intestinal wall, which can cause an infection of the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis).
Peritonitis is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Signs and symptoms of peritonitis include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Low urine output
Peritonitis may cause your child to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of shock include:
- Cool, clammy skin that may be pale or gray
- A weak and rapid pulse
- Abnormal breathing that may be either slow and shallow or very rapid
- Lackluster eyes that seem to stare blankly
- Profound listlessness
A child who is in shock may be conscious or unconscious. If you suspect your child is in shock, seek emergency medical care right away.
Dec. 14, 2012
- Kitigawa S, et al. Intussusception in children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 25, 2012.
- Hodin RA, et al. Small bowel obstruction: Causes and management. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 25, 2012.
- Pepper VK, et al. Diagnosis and management of pediatric appendicitis, intussusception, and Meckel diverticulum. Surgical Clinics of North America. 2012;92:505.
- Lindor RA, et al. Adult intussusception: Presentation, management, and outcomes of 148 patients. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2012;43:1.
- AskMayoExpert. Intussusception. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.