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- An intestinal blockage caused by Hirschsprung’s disease
- Bacterial or viral infection—Because of Hirschsprung’s disease, bacteria may grow more quickly in the intestines.
- Other changes in the intestines caused by Hirschsprung’s disease
- Undiagnosed Hirschsprung’s disease—It is usually diagnosed in infancy. But it may not be diagnosed until your child is older.
- Pull-through surgery—This is surgery to treat Hirschsprung’s disease. The unhealthy area of the colon is removed. Then, the healthy colon is joined to the rectum.
- Down syndrome —HAEC occurs in nearly half of Down syndrome patients who have Hirschsprung’s disease.
- Long section of colon affected by Hirschsprung's disease—The risk of HAEC is greater when long sections of the colon are affected.
- Bloated abdomen
- Severe diarrhea
- Poor feeding
- Rectal bleeding
- Lab tests—eg, complete blood count, electrolytes, and blood culture to check for infection
- X-ray of the abdomen—a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
- For serious cases, rectal irrigation and IV antibiotics (given using a needle placed in the arm) are used. For rectal irrigation, the doctor will gently push a catheter into the colon. Saline (salt water) will be pushed in through the catheter. It will slowly drain out. This allows gas and feces to come out of the rectum. Rarely, surgery is required to treat HAEC.
- For mild cases, the doctor may use oral antibiotics and rectal irrigation.
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.aap.org/
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders http://www.iffgd.org/
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology http://www.cag-acg.org/
Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.cps.ca/
Badash M. Hirschsprung’s Disease. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated September 2010. Accessed October 22, 2010.
Enterocolitis Associated with Hirschsprung’s Disease. University of Michigan Department of Surgery: Pediatric Surgery website. Available at: http://surgery.med.umich.edu/pediatric/clinical/physician%5Fcontent/a-m/enterocolitis.shtml. Updated January 11, 2010. Accessed October 22, 2010.
Hirschsprung’s Disease. About Kids GI website. Available at: http://www.aboutkidsgi.org/site/about-gi-health-in-kids/functional-gi-and-motility-disorders/hirschsprungs-disease . Updated October 2, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2010.
Hirschsprung’s Disease. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hirschsprungs-disease/DS00825 . Updated November 2008. Accessed October 22, 2010.
Kessmann J. Hirschsprung’s disease: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician . 2006 Oct 15;74(8):1319-1322.
Lucey JR. Necrotizing enterocolitis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated September 2010. Accessed October 22, 2010.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 00/11/2014