Rare clinical presentation mode of intestinal malrotation after neonatal period: Malabsorption-like symptoms due to chronic midgut volvulus

Mustafa Imamoglu, Ali Cay, Haluk Sarihan, Yaşar Sen
Pediatrics International: Official Journal of the Japan Pediatric Society 2004, 46 (2): 167-70

BACKGROUND: Many different and non-specific clinic presentation modes of malrotation anomalies (MA) have been reported after neonatal period. The authors describe four children with MA presented with malabsorption-like clinical features.

METHODS: Three children aged from 8 months to 7 years, with a history of long-standing diarrhea and failure to thrive attributed to malabsorption, were referred to Department of Pediatric Surgery, for evaluation of suspected MA. Another patient, a 10-year-old boy who was treated for malabsorption for 6 years, presented with acute duodenal obstruction findings. The duration of symptoms averaged 35 months, ranging 8 months to 6 years. All patients had undergone extensive evaluation and empiric trials of different formulas with no improvement in their symptoms. One underwent jejunal biopsy.

RESULTS: Primary presentation complaints were chronic diarrhea and failure to thrive in three patients. Their histories revealed chronic (in one) and intermittent colicky (in two) abdominal pain, and intermittent nonbilious vomiting (in three). The remaining patient presented with acute illness, with chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive, and intermittent abdominal pain and vomiting on his history. They were below 30th percentile according to body weight and height. Laboratory studies revealed hypoproteinemia, hypoalbunemia, raised liver function tests, and anemia in all patients. The patient who presented acutely had double-bubble sign on the plain abdominal film obtained at admission. In the other three, plain films obtained during an attack of abdominal pain and/or vomiting revealed findings of partial intestinal obstruction. The diagnosis was confirmed by upper gastrointestinal series. At their laparotomy, a classical type of malrotation with circumstantial evidence of chronic volvulus was noted. All patients had normal laboratory values between postoperative 3 and 5 weeks, and they were up to 30th percentile at the end of the 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Malrotation anomalies should be included in the differential diagnosis in a child presented with malabsorption-like clinical features.

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