Intestinal malrotation and midgut volvulus: a 15-year review

J N Lin, C C Lou, K L Wang
Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 1995, 94 (4): 178-81
The records of 54 pediatric patients with symptomatic malrotation of the intestine seen over a 15-year period from 1978 to 1992 were reviewed. Bilious vomiting and bloody stools were the two most common clinical presentations in neonates, while bilious vomiting, recurrent abdominal pain and failure to thrive were the most common symptoms after the newborn period. Obscure symptoms, usually of appreciable duration, were common in many patients beyond infancy. Upper gastrointestinal radiologic examination is the preferred and more accurate method of diagnosing malrotation as it has greater sensitivity than barium enema study. Laparotomy showed 24 cases with midgut volvulus. The incidence of midgut volvulus in symptomatic malrotation was 42.1% in the neonatal period, and 50% beyond the neonatal period. The majority of patients were treated by Ladd's operation. Massive gangrene of the small bowel due to volvulus was noted in five neonatal cases. Three patients subsequently died of this complication. Four patients developed a bowel obstruction secondary to adhesions, which was relieved by enterolysis. This study reiterates that newborns with symptomatic malrotation require emergency laparotomy in order to prevent catastrophic massive bowel resection.

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