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Volvulus without malposition--a single-center experience.

BACKGROUND: This is a single-center case series about the rare condition of volvulus without malposition and/or malrotation (VWM) in preterm babies. We focus on diagnostic difficulties, and our results should help to distinguish VWM as a distinct entity different from classical volvulus and segmental volvulus.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medical chart review of infants with VWM from 2003-2012 was used.

RESULTS: A total of 15 patients were identified. All of them had volvulus in the absence of intestinal malposition or other associated intestinal pathologies. All patients were born prematurely. Emergency laparotomy was necessary in all 15 patients. Two groups were identified. Group 1 includes four patients with typical signs of meconium obstruction of prematurity (MOP). Small bowel resection was only necessary in one of these four patients, all survived without residual intestinal lesions. Group 2 consists of 11 patients without signs of MOP-small bowel resection and temporary enterostomy were necessary in all these children. Four patients presented with pneumatosis intestinalis on the abdominal plain film, suggesting necrotizing enterocolitis. Although two infants died, the survivors showed complete recovery.

CONCLUSIONS: VWM is a distinct disease of prematurity. When associated with MOP, VWM has a favorable outcome of treatment. In contrast, VWM occurring in the absence of signs of meconium obstruction requires small bowel resection. VWM primarily affects the top of the midgut (ileum). Because of absent malposition, presentation of VWM may be uncharacteristic. Pneumatosis intestinalis in advanced VWM may lead to diagnostic difficulties and a delay in treatment.

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