Cardiopulmonary compromise associated with milk and molasses enema use in children

Melanie Walker, Brad W. Warner, Richard J. Brilli, Brian R. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Constipation is a common childhood problem that frequently confronts pediatric practitioners. When enema treatment is indicated to treat constipation, milk and molasses enemas are sometimes used. Side effects and adverse outcomes have been described with many types of enemas, but not with milk and molasses. The purpose of this study is to describe five children who acutely decompensated after receiving milk and molasses enemas. Methods: Retrospective review of the medical records of children with constipation who received milk and molasses enema with subsequent PICU admission at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center between 1994 and 2000. Results: Five children developed significant hemodynamic deterioration after receiving milk and molasses enemas. One of these children died and the others recovered after aggressive resuscitation. Conclusions: Milk and molasses enema administration can be associated with significant hemodynamic compromise. These risks appear similar to those risk observed with the use of other enema preparations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-148
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Cardiopulmonary arrest
  • Children
  • Constipation
  • Enema
  • Milk and molasses


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