Intussusception and COVID-19 in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Background: Intussusception (ISN) post-COVID-19 infection in children is rare but can occur. SARS-CoV-2 may play a role in the pathogenesis of ISN and trigger immune activation and mesenteric adenitis, which predispose peristaltic activity to “telescope” a proximal bowel segment into the distal bowel lumen. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in ISN children and analyze the demographic parameters, clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes in ISN pediatric patients with COVID-19 illness. Methods: We performed this systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Studies reporting on the incidence of ISN post-SARS-CoV-2 infection in children, published from 1 December 2019 until 1 October 2022, in PROQUEST, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PUBMED, CINAHL, WILEY ONLINE LIBRARY, SCOPUS and NATURE, with a restriction to articles available in the English language, were included. Results: Of the 169 papers that were identified, 34 articles were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis (28 case report, 5 cohort and 1 case-series studies). Studies involving 64 ISN patients with confirmed COVID-19 (all patients were children) were analyzed. The overall pooled proportions of the ISN patients who had PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection was 0.06% (95% CI 0.03 to 0.09, n = 1790, four studies, I2 0%, p = 0.64), while 0.07% (95% CI 0.03 to 0.12, n = 1552, three studies, I2 0%, p = 0.47) had success to ISN pneumatic, hydrostatic and surgical reduction treatment and 0.04% (95% CI 0.00 to 0.09, n = 923, two studies, I2 0%, p = 0.97) had failure to ISN pneumatic, hydrostatic and surgical reduction treatment. The median patient age ranged from 1 to 132 months across studies, and most of the patients were in the 1–12 month age group (n = 32, 50%), p = 0.001. The majority of the patients were male (n = 41, 64.1%, p = 0.000) and belonged to White (Caucasian) (n = 25, 39.1%), Hispanic (n = 13, 20.3%) and Asian (n = 5, 7.8%) ethnicity, p = 0.000. The reported ISN classifications by location were mostly ileocolic (n = 35, 54.7%), and few children experienced ileo-ileal ISN (n = 4, 6.2%), p = 0.001. The most common symptoms from ISN were vomiting (n = 36, 56.2%), abdominal pain (n = 29, 45.3%), red currant jelly stools (n = 25, 39.1%) and blood in stool (n = 15, 23.4%). Half of the patients never had any medical comorbidities (n = 32, 50%), p = 0.036. The approaches and treatments commonly used to manage ISN included surgical reduction of the ISN (n = 17, 26.6%), pneumatic reduction of the ISN (n = 13, 20.2%), antibiotics (n = 12, 18.7%), hydrostatic reduction of the ISN (n = 11, 17.2%), laparotomy (n = 10, 15.6%), intravenous fluids (n = 8, 12.5%) and surgical resection (n = 5, 7.8%), p = 0.051. ISN was recurrent in two cases only (n = 2, 3.1%). The patients experienced failure to pneumatic (n = 7, 10.9%), hydrostatic (n = 6, 9.4%) and surgical (n = 1, 1.5%) ISN treatment, p = 0.002. The odds ratios of death were significantly higher in patients with a female gender (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.31–0.79, p = 0.045), Asian ethnicity (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.28–0.48, p < 0.001), failure to pneumatic or surgical ISN reduction treatment (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.05–0.21, p = 0.036), admission to ICU (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.83–1.18, p = 0.03), intubation and placement of mechanical ventilation (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.51–1.41, p = 0.01) or suffering from ARDS (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.93–1.88, p = 0.01) compared to those who survived. Conclusion: Children with SARS-CoV-2 infection are at low risk to develop ISN. A female gender, Asian ethnicity, failure to ISN reduction treatment (pneumatic or surgical), admission to ICU, mechanical ventilation and suffering from ARDS were significantly associated with death following ISN in pediatric COVID-19 patients.
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