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Intussusception in an Immunocompromised Patient: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care, Rare disease, Clinical situation which can not be reproduced for ethical reasons

Charles-Henri Wassmer, Ziad Abbassi, Frédéric Ris, Thierry Berney

Department of Visceral and Transplant Surgery, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e919974

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.919974

Available online:

Published: 2020-01-15


BACKGROUND: Intussusception in adults (AI) accounts for 1% of all cases of bowel obstruction. While pediatric intussusception is well known and almost always idiopathic, an underlying cause is usually found in adults. Indication for surgical treatment and intussusception reduction before resection remain controversial in AI. Here, we present an uncommon case of an immunocompromised patient who had multiple intussusceptions.
CASE REPORT: A 59-year-old woman, who had received a kidney-pancreas transplant for type 1 diabetes with end-stage renal failure, was admitted to our Intensive Care Unit for septic shock of suspected pulmonary origin. A thoraco-abdominal CT scan demonstrated signs of bilateral pneumonia and multiple abdominal intussusceptions, for which she underwent surgery. Four intestinal intussusceptions were found. Manual desinvagination was performed without bowel resection. After surgery, the patient presented a new bowel obstruction, requiring a second surgery, showing recurrence of 1 intussusception. Segmental resection was indicated, but not performed because of the septic shock, requiring high-dose noradrenalin. The patient progressed toward multi-organ failure, leading to her death a few days later. An autopsy revealed that multiple adenomas were responsible for the intussusceptions.
CONCLUSIONS: This case confirms that AI is rarely a spontaneous disease and that the therapeutic strategy should be planned accordingly. There is currently no systematic approach for AI, and guidelines are needed to improve its management.

Keywords: Adult, Immunosuppression, Intussusception



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