Intussusception occurs when a portion of your child's intestine folds inside another segment — this causes an obstruction that prevents the passage of food, which is being digested.

  • The walls of the two sections of intestine press on each other, causing irritation and swelling.
  • Eventually, the blood supply to that area is cut off, which can cause damage to the intestine.
  • Intussusception is the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in children who are between 3 months and 6 years old.
  • Boys are affected four times as often as girls.

Rotavirus vaccine and intussusception

A rotavirus vaccine that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998 was pulled from the market in 1999 because of an association between the vaccine and an increased risk for intussusception in infants aged one year or younger.

However, no direct link was established to the vaccine as a cause of intussusception.

A new rotavirus vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2006. The risk for intussusception with the new vaccine was evaluated in a large clinical trial of more than 70,000 children, and no increased risk was found. The manufacturer of this vaccine will continue to closely monitor the vaccine's safety in additional clinical studies.