JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Intestinal malrotation: varied clinical presentation from infancy through adulthood.

Surgery 2011 March
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and clinical presentation of intestinal malrotation from infancy through adulthood by examining the experience of a single institution caring for patients of all ages with this condition.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review on all patients diagnosed with intestinal malrotation at Massachusetts General Hospital between 1992 and 2009. Patient demographics, clinical history, diagnostic tests, operative procedures, and outcome variables were recorded. Patients were divided into 3 age groups: infants (<1 year), children (1-18 years), and adults (18 years).

RESULTS: We identified 170 patients, of whom 31% were infants, 21% were children, and 48% were adults. Infants nearly always presented with emesis (93%), whereas adults most commonly presented with abdominal pain (87%), and less often with emesis (37%) or nausea (31%). The incidence of volvulus declined with age, from 37% to 22% to 12%, in each of the 3 age groups, respectively. Although infants were most often diagnosed within hours or days of symptom onset, 59% of children and 32% of adults experienced symptoms for years before diagnosis. Upper gastrointestinal series was the most common imaging study performed in infants and children, but was replaced by abdominal computed tomography in adults. All infants and children underwent a Ladd's procedure, compared with only 61% of adults. The majority of patients experienced resolution of symptoms after operative intervention, although this decreased slightly with age.

CONCLUSION: Intestinal malrotation can occur in patients of any age and, in contrast with traditional teaching, nearly half of these patients may present during adulthood. An increased awareness of this entity and an understanding of its varied presentation at different ages may reduce time to diagnosis and improve patient outcome.

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