The incidence and investigation of acute scrotal problems in children
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The true incidence of the various causes of acute scrotum in children is unclear; epididymo-orchitis (EO) is thought to be uncommon. Investigation for underlying urological abnormality in children with EO is recommended. To determine the incidence of the various pathologies in boys presenting to the emergency department with an acute scrotal condition and assess the value of further investigation of the urinary tract in a subgroup of boys with EO, a retrospective review of 100 consecutive patients admitted with a diagnosis of testicular pain was performed. Seventy had torsion of an appendix testis (TAT) and 12 had torsion of the testicle (TT). Ten boys were admitted with 11 episodes of EO; 7 had other pathologies including incarcerated hernia, varicocoele, and idiopathic scrotal oedema. The diagnosis of EO was made at operation in all 11 episodes. Escherichia coli was cultured in 4 patients; none were found to have underlying urinary tract abnormality. TAT was thus commonest causes of the acute scrotum. EO is not rare in infants, the incidence in this study being equal to the of TT. Subsequent urological investigation did not disclose any underlying abnormality. However, based on the current published literature futher investigation is recommended in selected cases.
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