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Concept: Volvulus


Midgut malrotation is an anomaly of intestinal rotation that occurs during fetal development and usually presents in the neonatal period. We present a rare case of malrotation in a 14-year-old patient who presented with cramping, generalized right abdominal pain, and vomiting for a duration of one day. A computed tomography abdominal scan and upper gastrointestinal contrast studies showed malrotation of the small bowel without volvulus. Laparoscopy revealed typical Ladd’s bands and a distended flabby third and fourth duodenal portion extrinsically obstructing the misplaced duodeno-jejunal junction. The Ladd procedure, including widening of the mesenteric base and appendectomy, was performed. Symptoms completely resolved in a half-year follow up period. Patients with midgut malrotation may present with vague abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction, or intestinal ischemia. The laparoscopic Ladd procedure is feasible and safe, and it appears to be as effective as the standard open Ladd procedure in the diagnosis and treatment of teenage or adult patients with intestinal malrotation.

Concepts: Abdominal pain, Small intestine, Bowel obstruction, Abdomen, Jejunum, Volvulus, Intestinal malrotation, Ladd's bands


BACKGROUND: Sigmoid volvulus (SV) is the wrapping of the sigmoid colon around itself and its mesentery. The goal of this study was to investigate the diagnosis approach to 938 patients with SV treated at our institution and their clinical outcomes. METHODS: The clinical records of 938 patients with SV treated at our institution between June 1966 and January 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS: The mean age was 58.6 years (range 10 weeks to 98 years), and 774 patients (82.5 %) were male. A total of 210 (25.1 %) of 837 patients, who provided information on anamnesis and clinical features, had recurrent episodes of volvulus; 215 patients (25.7 %) had comorbidities, and 108 patients (12.9 %) presented with toxic or hypovolemic shock. The mean duration of symptoms was 38.7 h (range 6 h to 7 days), and the most common clinical features were abdominal pain and tenderness (827 of 837 patients, 98.8 %), distention (805 patients, 96.2 %), and obstipation (771 patients, 92.1 %). The final diagnosis was made with endoscopy in 519 patients (55.3 %), endoscopy followed by surgery in 154 patients (16.4 %) and at surgery in 265 patients (28.3 %). The correct diagnosis rate was 71.6 % based on clinical findings compared with 66.7 % based on plain X-ray films, 81.4 % based on both clinical and plain X-ray findings, and 100.0 % based on CT or MRI findings. CONCLUSIONS: Sigmoid volvulus is common in adult men. The disease is generally associated with recurrent episodes, comorbidity, and shock. SV generally presents as a large-bowel obstruction. Although plain X-rays may help with diagnosis, CT and MRI are more reliable diagnostic tools, and flexible endoscopy is always diagnostic. However, surgery is used to diagnose SV in limited situations.

Concepts: Medicine, X-ray, Diagnosis, Medical imaging, Abdominal pain, Rectum, Volvulus, Mesentery


Background/Purpose Malrotation with a common mesentery is the classical pathology allowing midgut volvulus to occur. There are only a few reports of small bowel volvulus without malrotation or other pathology triggering volvulation. We describe three cases of small bowel volvulus in very premature newborns with a perfectly normal intra-abdominal anatomy and focus on the question, what might have set off volvulation.Methods In 2005 to 2008, three patients developed small bowel voluvulus without any underlying pathology. Retrospective patient chart review was performed with special focus on clinical presentation, preoperative management, intraoperative findings, and potential causative explanations. Mean follow-up period was 46 months.Results All patients were born between 27 and 31 weeks (mean 28 weeks) with a birth weight between 800 and 1,000 g (mean 887 g). They presented with an almost identical pattern of symptoms including sudden abdominal distension, abdominal tenderness, erythema of the abdominal wall, high gastric residuals, and radiographic signs of ileus. All of them were treated with intensive abdominal massage or pelvic rotation to improve bowel movement before becoming symptomatic.Conclusions Properistaltic maneuvers including abdominal massage and pelvic rotation may cause what we term a “manufactured” volvulus in very premature newborns. Thus, this practice was stopped.

Concepts: Digestive system, Abdominal pain, Small intestine, Bowel obstruction, Peritoneum, Abdomen, Volvulus, Intestinal malrotation


INTRODUCTION:: Colonic volvulus is a rare entity associated with high mortality rates. Most studies come from areas of high endemicity and are limited by small numbers. No studies have investigated trends, outcomes, and predictors of mortality at the national level. METHODS:: The Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2002-2010 was retrospectively reviewed for colonic volvulus cases admitted emergently. Patients' demographics, hospital factors, and outcomes of the different procedures were analyzed. The LASSO algorithm for logistic regression was used to build a predictive model for mortality in cases of sigmoid (SV) and cecal volvulus (CV) taking into account preoperative and operative variables. RESULTS:: An estimated 3,351,152 cases of bowel obstruction were admitted in the United States over the study period. Colonic volvulus was found to be the cause in 63,749 cases (1.90%). The incidence of CV increased by 5.53% per year whereas the incidence of SV remained stable. SV was more common in elderly males (aged 70 years), African Americans, and patients with diabetes and neuropsychiatric disorders. In contrast, CV was more common in younger females. Nonsurgical decompression alone was used in 17% of cases. Among cases managed surgically, resective procedures were performed in 89% of cases, whereas operative detorsion with or without fixation procedures remained uncommon. Mortality rates were 9.44% for SV, 6.64% for CV, 17% for synchronous CV and SV, and 18% for transverse colon volvulus. The LASSO algorithm identified bowel gangrene and peritonitis, coagulopathy, age, the use of stoma, and chronic kidney disease as strong predictors of mortality. CONCLUSIONS:: Colonic volvulus is a rare cause of bowel obstruction in the United States and is associated with high mortality rates. CV and SV affect different populations and the incidence of CV is on the rise. The presence of bowel gangrene and coagulopathy strongly predicts mortality, suggesting that prompt diagnosis and management are essential.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Epidemiology, United States, U.S. state, Bowel obstruction, Native Americans in the United States, Volvulus, Population history of American indigenous peoples


BACKGROUND Sigmoid volvulus (SV) is a life-threatening condition occasionally seen in adults. Adult Hirschsprung’s disease (HD)-related SV is rarely complicated by difficult-to-control hypertension. In this report we present the case of an elderly man with a rare constellation of HD, SV, and refractory hypertension. CASE REPORT An 82-year-old man had long-term constipation, moderate abdominal pain, and progressive abdominal distension. A CT scan revealed the typical “coffee bean sign”. Blood pressure was abnormal high. Subsequently, the patient’s condition deteriorated. Therefore, he underwent a Hartmann’s procedure. A giant and redundant sigmoid colon (length more than 60 cm, maximal diameter about 15 cm) was demonstrated to be the cause of SV during the process of surgery. Moreover, abdominal compartment syndrome caused by SV resulted in his high and refractory blood pressure (BP). Postoperative pathological results revealed HD in his sigmoid colon. CONCLUSIONS SV is rarely combined with conditions like refractory hypertension or HD among the elderly. Clinical features of SV typically present with long-term constipation, severe abdominal pain, and progressive abdominal distension. The “coffee bean sign” could be observed in imaging examinations. It is important to note that the management of SV is to relieve the obstruction and prevent recurrence, no matter which therapy is used in elderly patients with Hirschsprung’s disease.

Concepts: Hypertension, Blood pressure, Abdominal pain, Constipation, Bowel obstruction, Diverticulitis, Volvulus, Hirschsprung's disease


BACKGROUND Appendicitis is the most common cause of abdominal pain requiring emergent surgical intervention. Although typically presenting as right lower-quadrant pain, in rare cases it may present as left upper-quadrant pain secondary to abnormal position due to intestinal malrotation. Since atypical presentations may result in diagnostic and management delay, increasing morbidity and mortality, accurate and prompt diagnosis is important. Therefore, acute appendicitis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of left upper-quadrant abdominal pain. In this setting, medical imaging plays a key role in diagnosis. We report a case of a 13-year-old female with undiagnosed intestinal malrotation presenting with left-sided acute appendicitis. CASE REPORT A 13-year-old Hispanic female presented at the emergency room with anorexia and left upper-quadrant abdominal pain with involuntary guarding. The laboratory work-up was remarkable for elevated white blood cell count and elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. A nasogastric tube was placed and abdominal x-rays performed to rule-out bowel obstruction, showing distended bowel loops throughout all abdominal quadrants, with sigmoid and proximal rectal gas, raising concern for ileus rather than an obstructive pattern. Lack of symptomatic improvement prompted an IV contrast-enhanced abdominopelvic CT, revealing intestinal malrotation and with an inflamed left upper-quadrant appendix. Surgical management proceeded with a laparoscopic Ladd’s procedure. CONCLUSIONS Acute appendicitis may present with atypical symptoms due to unusual appendix locations, such as in malrotation. Most cases are asymptomatic until development of acute complications, requiring imaging for diagnosis. Clinicians and radiologists should have a high index of suspicion and knowledge of its clinical presentations to achieve early diagnosis and intervention.

Concepts: Medical terms, Red blood cell, Surgery, Large intestine, Bowel obstruction, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Appendicitis, Volvulus


Intestinal malrotation is a continuum of congenital anomalies due to lack of rotation or incomplete rotation of the fetal intestine around the superior mesenteric artery axis. The abnormal bowel fixation (by mesenteric bands) or absence of fixation of portions of the bowel increases the risk of bowel obstruction, acute or chronic volvulus, and bowel necrosis. The clinical presentation of patients with malrotation without, with intermittent, or with chronic volvulus can be problematic, with an important minority presenting late or having atypical or chronic symptoms, such as intermittent vomiting, abdominal pain, duodenal obstruction, or failure to thrive. The diagnosis is heavily reliant on imaging. Upper GI series remain the gold standard with the normal position of the duodenojejunal junction lateral to the left-sided pedicles of the vertebral body, at the level of the duodenal bulb on frontal views and posterior (retroperitoneal) on lateral views. However, a variety of conditions might influence the position of the duodenojejunal junction, potentially leading to a misdiagnosis of malrotation. Such conditions include improper technique, gastric over distension, splenomegaly, renal or retroperitoneal tumors, liver transplant, small bowel obstruction, the presence of properly or malpositioned enteric tubes, and scoliosis. All of these may cause the duodenojejunal junction to be displaced. We present a series of cases highlighting conditions that mimic malrotation without volvulus to increase the practicing radiologist awareness and help minimize interpretation errors.

Concepts: Digestive system, Abdominal pain, Gastroenterology, Small intestine, Bowel obstruction, Duodenum, Volvulus, Superior mesenteric artery syndrome


Primary small intestinal volvulus is defined as torsion in the absence of congenital malrotation, band, or postoperative adhesions. Its occurrence as an early postoperative complication is rare. A 40-year-old woman presented with rectal prolapse, and laparoscopic rectopexy was uneventfully performed. She could not have food on the day after surgery. She started oral intake on postoperative day 3 but developed abdominal pain after the meal. Contrast-enhanced CT revealed torsion of the small intestinal mesentery. An emergent laparotomy showed small intestinal volvulus, without congenital malformation or intestinal adhesions. We diagnosed it as primary small intestinal volvulus. The strangulated intestine was resected, and reconstruction was performed. The patient recovered uneventfully after the second surgery. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of primary small intestinal volvulus occurring after rectopexy for rectal prolapse. Primary small intestinal volvulus could be a postoperative complication after laparoscopy.

Concepts: Diseases and disorders, Surgery, Abdominal pain, Large intestine, Small intestine, Bowel obstruction, Congenital disorder, Volvulus


Chilaiditi’s sign is a radiological finding that occurs when the small or large intestine is positioned superior to the liver in the sub-diaphragmatic space. This is typically an asymptomatic radiological sign, but when symptoms occur, e.g., abdominal pain, nausea, emesis, it is termed Chilaiditi’s syndrome. Currently, majority of the cases of Chilaiditi’s syndrome, described in the literature, requiring operative intervention are due to large bowel obstruction or colonic volvulus. The following is a single case report of a patient presenting to Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi. This report details a 57-yr-old female who has found to have Chilaiditi’s syndrome causing a high-grade small-bowel obstruction. She failed non-operative intervention and required exploratory laparotomy, lysis of adhesions, and manual reduction of small bowel from the sub-diaphragmatic space. The rate of failure of non-operative management of Chilaiditi’s syndrome has not been established. Our patient had a surgical history of laparotomy and was found to have adhesions superior to her liver. Patients with prior abdominal surgery may require a lower threshold for operative management for Chilaiditi’s syndrome due to the possibility of concomitant adhesive disease particularly if the prior procedure involved the upper abdomen.

Concepts: Ulcerative colitis, Abdominal pain, Large intestine, Small intestine, Bowel obstruction, Abdomen, Vomiting, Volvulus


Wilms' tumor (WT) accounts for 90% of all pediatric renal malignant tumors. The most common postoperative complication based on the National Wilms' Tumor Study is small bowel obstruction. We report on a 2-year-old girl with postoperative bowel obstruction following a right nephrectomy for WT. The patient was reintervened 48 hours after surgery and a cecal volvulus was found. Here, we will describe possible causes of this postoperative complication and discuss management.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Tumor, Abdominal pain, Large intestine, Bowel obstruction, Wilms' tumor, Volvulus