THE RELATIVE infrequency of acute surgical emergencies of the abdomen in very young children is not generally appreciated by surgeons or by pediatricians. A recent review of the records of the John Gaston Hospital (teaching hospital of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine) revealed only 158 children 5 years of age or under admitted to the hospital with acute abdominal conditions of a surgical nature in the 10-year period from 1942 through 1951. During this period there were 22,430 patients admitted to the surgical service of the hospital and 18,747 to the pediatric service. The total number of hospital admissions for this period was 188,375.
An analysis of the above series of 158 cases affords a great deal of interesting information which is considered to be of sufficient general interest to warrant its presentation in some detail. In most instances the cases included in this study were considered extremely