Malrotation in the older child: surgical management, treatment, and outcome

R T Maxson, P A Franklin, C W Wagner
American Surgeon 1995, 61 (2): 135-8
Malrotation in the neonate is an anomaly for which there are clear indications for surgery. However, the management of the older patient with this entity is not well defined. At Arkansas Children's Hospital, we reviewed our patients who were older than two years of age with malrotation. Between 1978 and 1993, 22 cases ages 2-23 years were identified. The most common presenting symptoms were vomiting 15 (68%), colicky abdominal pain 12 (55%), and diarrhea 2 (9%). Other symptoms were hematemesis 1 (5%), and constipation 1 (5%). The duration of symptoms averaged 28 months, range 2-96 months. All diagnoses were made by upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series, except for one that was recognized during an exploratory laparotomy for an intestinal duplication. A Ladd's procedure with appendectomy was performed in all cases. A significant number of patients in our series (41%) were found to have either a volvulus or internal hernia at exploration that was not clearly demonstrated by the diagnostic studies. Intestinal resection was performed in two patients for ischemic bowel. There were no perioperative deaths. Postoperative complications consisted of a wound infection in one patient. Total relief of symptoms occurred in 64% of patients. All patients with volvulus or internal hernia had resolution of symptoms, and all patients reported partial relief of their chronic symptoms. Surgical therapy eliminates the possibility of loss of bowel from volvulus or internal hernia, which is not always evident on diagnostic radiographic examination. Surgery is also highly effective in alleviating the chronic symptoms in these children. We believe, therefore, that surgical treatment is clearly indicated in the older child with proven malrotation.

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