General anesthesia for intussusception reduction by enema

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Intussusception is the most frequent cause of bowel obstruction in children. Although enema is usually used as the initial treatment, surgery may be required in more than 50% of patients. General anesthesia (GA) has been suggested to increase the rate of enema success. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether GA increases the success rate of reduction by air enema.


In this retrospective single-center study from 1989 to the end of June 2008, patients receiving air enema for intussusception reduction were studied. Multivariable analysis using propensity score was performed to compare the success rate between patients receiving sedation or GA.


The success rate of air enema increased from 72% in 1989 to the current rate of 90%. When time elapsed between first symptoms and enema was >12 h, the success rate decreased significantly (Odds Ratio 0.67 [0.56–0.81], P < 0.0001). When patients were matched by propensity score, GA significantly increased the likelihood of success (OR 5.66 [2.85–12.89], P = 0.013).


Air enema performed under GA allows intussusception reduction in more than 90% of patients.

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