Stool appearance in intussusception: assessing the value of the term "currant jelly".
This study surveyed the stool appearance descriptions of 107 inpatient children with intussusception. Fifty-six patients presented with grossly bloody stools (passed spontaneously), 10 of which were determined on chart review to resemble currant jelly. Of the 51 patients without grossly bloody spontaneously passed stools, 35 patients had rectal examination results charted. Eight of these children had grossly bloody stools noted on rectal examination, 4 of which were determined on chart review to resemble currant jelly. While most of the grossly bloody stools were not consistent with pure currant jelly, the most common terms used in describing the grossly bloody stools were "bloody," "mucus," "red," and "diarrhea." Since stools truly resembling currant jelly account for a minority of the grossly bloody stools in intussusception, the term "currant jelly stools" should be assessed in the teaching of intussusception. Generic terms such as blood, mucus, burgundy, red, etc, are more objective and sensitive at identifying cases of intussusception. Junior physicians who are taught the classic presentation of intussusception with currant jelly stool should also be taught that intussusception should be considered in the differential diagnosis of children passing any type of bloody stool. As a result, physicians with limited experience will be more likely to appropriately consider the diagnosis of intussusception, permitting a more timely diagnosis and a better outcome.
Yamamoto, LG; Morita, SY; Boychuk, RB; Inaba, AS; Rosen, LM; Yee, LL; Young, LL
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