- Pneumatic reduction using air has recently become popular for the initial non-surgical management of intussusception. Since carbon dioxide (CO2) is rapidly absorbed from body surfaces, it should theoretically result in less cramping and distension following reduction. We reviewed our recent experience with the pneumatic reduction of intussusception using CO2 in 26 children. In 22 of these the intussusception was reduced (85%). There was one performation with CO2; the patient did not suffer any postoperative complications. Five additional children who had been treated unsuccessfully with barium had intussusception subsequently reduced with CO2. Following CO2 reduction, most children were fed within hours, and there were no instances of significant abdominal distension or cramping. We conclude that pneumatic reduction of intussusception using CO2 is safe and effective, and has the theoretical advantage of more rapid absorption from the gastrointestinal tract than air.