A volvulus occurs when part of the large intestine is twisted on itself and the mesentery. The mesentery is a supportive tissue that anchors the intestines to the back wall of the abdomen. The twisted intestine creates a bowel obstruction that cuts off the blood supply and affects bowel function.
A volvulus requires immediate medical attention.
It is not known what causes the twisting to happen. Rarely, this may lead to bowel obstruction.
Factors that increase your child’s chance of volvulus include:
In some cases, your child may not have symptoms. In those that have them, symptoms may include:
Your child’s doctor will ask you about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your child’s doctor may recommend:
- Blood tests for electrolytes
- Hematest to check for hidden blood in the stool
Imaging tests will be needed to see your child’s internal structures. Tests include:
The treatment goal is to unblock the obstruction and restore bowel function. Treatment may include:
IV fluids may be given to prevent dehydration and shock. Your child may need a nasogastric tube to help prevent the build-up of gas in the stomach. A nasogastric tube is a tube inserted through the nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach.
Your child’s doctor may recommend antibiotics if an infection is present or possible.
Your child’s doctor will untwist the intestine and assess for any damage. In most cases, untwisting the intestine helps restore blood flow and bowel function.
If needed, the section of intestine that is damaged is removed. The two remaining healthy ends are put together with stitches or staples. This procedure may reduce the chance of another volvulus.
There are no current guidelines to prevent volvulus.
- EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD
- Updated: 01/13/2014
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Henry Ford Allegiance Health or performed by Henry Ford Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.