In 90% of patients, the cause of intussusception is unknown. In infants over 1 year, a "lead point" on the intestine may cue the investigation. "Lead points" may be Meckel's diverticulum, a polyp, hypertrophy of lymphatic tissue of the bowel associated with infection (Peyer patch), or bowel tumors. When intussusception occurs in adults, it is most commonly associated with benign or malignant tumors or polyps. Current theories also suggest that intussusception may be associated with viral infections, such as an upper respiratory infection.

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