Thumbay University Hospital Building
Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman Image Credit: Supplied

A seven-year-old Jordanian boy was, recently, referred to Thumbay University Hospital after complaining of severe stomach pain, alarming green-colored vomiting and blood in his stools. Initially diagnosed with appendicitis at a local clinic, further investigations revealed a more complex and rare condition known as intussusception- a serious problem of the intestine. Now, Intussusception is a medical emergency where a segment of the intestine telescopes into an adjacent portion, leading to a painful obstruction and potential life-threatening complications.

“In intussusception, a part of the intestine slides/folds into another much like a collapsible telescope, causing a blockage in the intestine,” explains Dr Mufique Gajdhar, a pediatric surgeon at Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman. “More, often, this condition may not even require surgery. The patient was initially given conservative treatment like radiological reduction, which his condition didn’t respond to as it was a complicated case.”

Thumbay_Dr Mufique
Dr Mufique Gajdhar, a pediatric surgeon at Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Gajdhar adds, “When we operated him, we found a giant Meckel’s Diverticulum (congenital anomaly of gastrointestinal tract) which was causing a reverse and complex intussusception. In Meckel’s Diverticulum, a small pouch exists in the wall of the intestine, near the junction of the small and large intestines. The pouch is not made of the same type of tissue as the small intestine, but instead, may be made of the type of tissue found in the stomach or the pancreas.”

The tissue in Meckel’s Diverticulum can produce acid, just as the tissue of the stomach does. The intestinal lining is sensitive to being in contact with acid, and eventually, an ulcer forms. Normally, it’s in the range of 2cm, however, this case had a 16 cm long tissue which was successfully removed with surgery, and the intussusception of the intestines was corrected with surgical intervention. Although intussusception is a common condition in pediatric patients, this case was a complex.

Based on this case, it’s crucial for parents to remain vigilant about their children’s digestive health. Dr Gajdhar lists out some key things to watch out for and also avoid. Parents need to seek timely medical attention, stay informed and encourage healthy eating habits. They need to avoid delaying treatment, overlooking symptoms and ignoring routine check-ups.