Outcomes of surgical treatment of malrotation in children

A A Nasir, L O Abdur-Rahman, J O Adeniran
African Journal of Paediatric Surgery: AJPS 2011, 8 (1): 8-11

BACKGROUND: Abnormalities of rotation and fixation of the intestines are of intense interest to the pediatric surgeon, as they are frequently associated with volvulus which has catastrophic consequences when diagnosis is delayed or not even considered. This study evaluates the outcomes of surgical management of intestinal malrotation (IM) in children.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The medical records of all patients with symptomatic malrotation, who underwent surgery between January 2000 and September 2009, were reviewed. Patients' characteristics, management, complications, and survival were evaluated.

RESULTS: Nine patients (eight boys and a girl) underwent surgery for malrotation at a median age of 15 days. Eight presented with acute symptoms and one with chronic symptoms. All the patients had symptoms of intermittent or complete upper intestinal obstruction, and malrotation was documented by an upper gastrointestinal contrast study in two of them. Volvulus was found at the time of surgery in seven patients, five of whom were neonates. One patient also had associated mesentery cyst. Seven patients were treated by Ladd's operation. One patient with massive bowel gangrene due to volvulus had right hemicolectomy. There was one perioperative death from anastomostic leak. Median length of stay was 9 days. Postoperative bowel obstruction was seen in two patients (one died), resulting in an overall mortality of 22.2%.

CONCLUSIONS: Bowel gangrene from volvulus contributes to mortality, and small bowel adhesive intestinal obstruction is a cause of morbidity and mortality following surgery for IM. Neonates with bilious vomiting should raise the suspicion of malrotation until proven otherwise and given prompt intervention. There is a need for high index of suspicion in babies with bilious vomiting especially when recurrent to prevent devastating complications when present.

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