The optimal management of malrotation diagnosed after infancy: a decision analysis

Marcus M Malek, Randall S Burd
American Journal of Surgery 2006, 191 (1): 45-51

BACKGROUND: The benefit of a prophylactic Ladd's procedure in older children and adults with malrotation is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of the Ladd's procedure in patients with asymptomatic malrotation diagnosed after infancy.

METHODS: A Markov decision analysis was used to compare the quality adjusted life expectancy with and without a Ladd's procedure among patients with asymptomatic malrotation. Data obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample were used to estimate the age-related probability of emergency surgery or volvulus among patients with malrotation. Estimates of the mortality of elective and emergency surgery, mortality of volvulus, and utilities of each health state were obtained from the literature.

RESULTS: After infancy, the gain in quality adjusted life expectancy associated with a prophylactic Ladd's procedure was highest when asymptomatic malrotation was treated at 1 year old and steadily declined until asymptomatic malrotation was treated at 20 years old. An increasing advantage of observation over prophylactic surgery on life expectancy was observed after the second decade of life. A 2-fold increase in mortality risk for an elective Ladd's procedure decreased the age threshold to 14 years, whereas a 4-fold increase decreased the threshold to 7 years. These results were found to be robust by sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulation.

CONCLUSION: A Ladd's procedure should be considered for children diagnosed with asymptomatic malrotation, particularly those who are younger and with a low risk of postoperative mortality. The rare occurrence of midgut volvulus does not justify performing a prophylactic Ladd's procedure on most adults with malrotation.

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