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October 17, 1966

H2O2 For Colon Lavage In Infants . . . . . A Danger?

JAMA. 1966;198(3):48-49. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110160022012

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Use of hydrogen peroxide for colon lavage in infants has produced unexpected hepatic findings, St. Louis investigators report.

Clinical observations and preliminary animal experiments indicate a 1% solution elicits large amounts of oxygen in the portal venous system, Armand E. Brodeur, MD, told the Society for Pediatric Radiology.

Bowel Obstruction  Hydrogen peroxide often is used to disrupt fecal masses causing bowel obstruction in infants and children.Last winter, a 5-month-old male who had had a transverse colostomy for imperforate anus was seen at St. Louis' Cardinal Glennon Memorial Hospital for Children. The infant had "stubborn constipation in the left side of the large intestine," said Dr. Brodeur.Lavage with hydrogen peroxide was begun. In a matter of moments, the infant "suddenly developed a shock-like picture," along with severe dyspnea and moderate cyanosis. The procedure was halted, and it was initially thought the colon had been perforated.

Radiolucent Streaks  Radiographs showed