Conference Coverage

Breastfeeding protects against intussusception



LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIAThe first dose of rotavirus vaccine emerged as the strongest independent risk factor for intussusception in infancy, but breastfeeding had a protective effect in a German case-control study.

Mother breastfeeding her baby. ©Maxim Tupikov/

Two other potent risk factors for intussusception in children less than 1 year old were identified: a family history of intussusception, and an episode of gastroenteritis, Doris F. Oberle, MD, PhD, reported at the annual meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Oberle, of the Paul Ehrlich Institute in Langen, Germany, presented a retrospective study of 116 meticulously validated cases of intussusception in infancy treated at 19 German pediatric centers during 2010-2014 and 272 controls matched by birth month, sex, and location. A standardized interview was conducted with the parents of all study participants.

Rotavirus vaccine was added to the German national vaccination schedule in 2013. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, the risk of intussusception was increased by 5.4-fold following the first dose of the vaccine, compared with nonrecipients. However, subsequent doses of rotavirus vaccine were not associated with any excess risk.

In addition, a family history of intussusception was linked to a 4.2-fold increased risk, while an episode of gastroenteritis during the first year of life was associated with a 4.7-fold elevated risk.

In a novel finding, breastfeeding was independently associated with a 44% reduction in the risk of intussusception, compared with that of bottle-fed babies.

The most common presenting signs and symptoms of intussusception were vomiting, abdominal pain, hematochezia, pallor, and reduced appetite, each present in at least half of affected infants.

Dr. Oberle reported having no financial conflicts regarding her study, supported by the Paul Ehrlich Institute.

Next Article: