• Henoch-Schönlein purpura is a disorder of unknown origin that is probably related to an autoimmune phenomenon. This report concerns 110 children (mean age, 6.2 years; range, 6 months to 14 years) with Henoch-Schönlein purpura. Seventy-two (65%) had abdominal pain associated with nausea and vomiting, bloody stool, and upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Sixty patients with abdominal pain were evaluated and treated conservatively. However, 12 patients underwent laparotomy. Six underwent unnecessary appendectomy for wrongly diagnosed appendicitis. Bowel resection was performed in one patient for an obstructive ileal lesion. Six additional patients had intussusception; surgery was required in three, while barium enema reduction was successfully accomplished in three others. Massive gastric hemorrhage required ligation, vagotomy, and pyloroplasty in two instances. One child with severe scrotal pain, hemorrhage, and swelling underwent unnecessary scrotal exploration. Four additional patients with similar symptoms avoided operation after a testicular scintiscan demonstrated good blood flow. A high index of suspicion and early diagnosis of Henoch-Schönlein purpura based on clinical, roentgenographic, and laboratory findings may avoid unnecessary operations in most cases. However, life-threatening complications (hemorrhage, obstruction, and intussusception) may occur and require operative intervention. All of the patients survived.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:849-854)