Acquired Diseases in the Infant
Worldwide viruses, bacteria and parasites cause enteritis. Viral acute gastroenteritis and enterocolitis are most frequent in the first 2 years of life. Imaging is mostly not required but plain films are sometimes useful to differentiate enteritis from other more serious diseases such as obstruction, intussusception, perforated appendix with peritonitis, neuroblastoma and Hirschsprung disease.
Plain films in two directions may show moderate dilatation of small bowel and colon. Both may contain air-fluid levels, and particularly in the colon air-fluid levels suggest disturbed resorptive activity. Either there is too much intraluminal fluid (diar
rhea) or there is decreased peristaltic activity with resulting decreasing resorptive power. In case of persistent vomiting a relatively gasless abdomen can be seen. US, performed to exclude intussusception for example, may show fluid in the small intestine and even colon, hyperperistalsis, large mesenteric lymph nodes and sometimes bowel wall thickening (ParkEr 2003; Devos and MEradji 2003).
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