Pediatr Radiol. 2023 Jan 3. doi: 10.1007/s00247-022-05572-8. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Masking and social distancing to mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus curbed the spread of other viruses. Given a potential link between viral illnesses and ileocolic intussusception, the purpose of this study is to characterize trends in incidence, diagnosis and management of pediatric intussusception in the United States in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional retrospective study used the Pediatric Hospital Information System and included children (ages 0-17 years) with a primary diagnosis of intussusception (ICD-10 [International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision]: K56.1) from January 2018 to December 2021. Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were used to characterize and compare proportions pre-COVID (2018 and 2019) to 2020 and 2021.
RESULTS: Eight thousand one hundred forty-three encounters met inclusion criteria. Intussusception diagnoses declined in 2020 (n = 1,480) compared to 2019 (n = 2,321) and 2018 (n = 2,171) but returned to pre-COVID levels in 2021 (n = 2,171). Patient age was similar across years (mean age in years: 2018: 2.3; 2019: 2.1; 2020: 2.3; 2021: 2.3). There was no significant change in the proportion of patients who underwent imaging in 2020 (96% [1,415/1,480]) compared to the other years in the study (2018: 96% [2,093/2,171], P = 0.21; 2019: 97% [2,253/2,321], P = 0.80; 2021: 96% [1,415/1,480], P = 0.85). There was a statistically significant but minimal increase in the proportion of cases treated with surgery in 2020 compared to 2019 (2020: 17.8% vs. 2019: 15%, P = 0.02); however, this was not replicated in the pairwise comparison of 2020 to 2018 (2020: 17.8% vs. 2018: 16.4%, P = 0.23). There was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of cases treated with surgery in 2020 compared to 2021 (2020: 17.8% vs. 2021: 14%, P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Pediatric intussusception diagnoses decreased at a national level in 2020 compared to previous years, with a rebound increase in 2021. This may reflect a secondary benefit of public health interventions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.