Malrotation and volvulus in infancy and childhood

A J W Millar, H Rode, S Cywes
Seminars in Pediatric Surgery 2003, 12 (4): 229-36
The subject of malrotation and midgut volvulus in infancy and childhood is reviewed from the perspective of experience with 138 patients evaluated in a published series and a further 82 cases seen since. Embryology, historical aspects, clinical presentation, investigation, surgery, and outcome are discussed. The diagnosis of malrotation and volvulus should always be kept in mind when assessing any infant or child with symptoms of vomiting and pain, particularly when the vomiting is bile-stained. The diagnosis cannot be excluded if diarrhea is present, when clinical findings are bland, or even with normal abdominal radiographs. A contrast meal and follow-through should be done and, if correctly interpreted, should be diagnostic. Ultrasound examination may be helpful but is not secure enough to exclude the diagnosis. Laparotomy or laparoscopy is the only way to be sure. Malrotation with its propensity for volvulus is truly a time bomb lying within.

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