Should malrotation in children be treated differently according to age?

P Prasil, H Flageole, K S Shaw, L T Nguyen, S Youssef, J M Laberge
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2000, 35 (5): 756-8

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to better define the mode of presentation, rate of volvulus, and surgical findings in children younger than 2 versus older than 2 years of age with malrotation.

METHODS: The authors reviewed the charts of all patients with malrotation admitted to their hospital between January 1980 and December 1998, excluding patients having malrotation as a secondary finding.

RESULTS: An upper gastrointestinal series was done in 90 patients (6% falsely negative) and a barium enema in 20 patients (40% read as normal). Fifty-eight patients had 114 associated congenital anomalies. Volvulus was found at the time of surgery in 28 patients, 5 of whom were older than 2 years. Three presented with acute symptoms and 2 with chronic symptoms. Surgery was performed by laparotomy in 103 patients and by laparoscopy in 3. Mean length of stay was 13.6 days. Mean follow-up was 19 months. Death occurred in 4 patients; postoperative bowel obstruction was seen in 3 patients (only 1 required surgery).

CONCLUSIONS: Children with malrotation who are older than 2 years old have a significant risk of volvulus that is difficult to predict radiologically. They require surgical attention even if asymptomatic. Laparoscopy allows evaluation of the base of the mesentery and completion of the Ladd's procedure.

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