St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Volvulus - childhood

    Childhood volvulus

    A volvulus is a twisting of the intestine that can occur in childhood. It causes a blockage, and may cut off blood flow and damage part of the intestine.

    Causes

    A birth defect called intestinal malrotation can make infants more likely to develop a volvulus. However, a volvulus can occur without malrotation.

    Volvulus due to malrotation often occurs early in life, usually in the first year.

    Symptoms

    • Bloody or dark red stools
    • Constipation or difficulty releasing stools
    • Distended abdomen
    • Pain or tenderness in the abdomen
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Shock
    • Vomiting green material

    Symptoms are usually severe enough that infants are taken early to the emergency room, which can be critical for survival.

    Exams and Tests

    • Barium enema
    • Blood tests to check electrolytes
    • CT scan
    • Stool guaiac (shows blood in the stool)
    • Upper GI

    Treatment

    Emergency surgery is needed to repair the volvulus. A surgical cut is made in the abdomen. The bowels are untwisted and the blood supply restored.

    If a small segment of bowel is dead from a lack of blood flow (necrotic), it is removed. The ends of the bowel are sewn back together. Or, they are used to form a connection of the intestines to the outside, through which bowel contents can be removed (colostomy or ileostomy).

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Diagnosing and treating volvulus quickly generally leads to a good outcome.

    If the bowel is dead (necrotic), the outlook is poor. The situation may be life-threatening, depending on how much of the bowel is dead.

    Possible Complications

    • Secondary peritonitis
    • Short bowel syndrome (after removal of a large part of the small bowel)

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    This is an emergency condition. The symptoms of childhood volvulus develop quickly and the child becomes severely ill. Get medical attention immediately.

    References

    Peterson MA. Disorders of the large intestine. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 93.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Volvulus

      illustration

    • Volvulus - X-ray

      illustration

      • Volvulus

        illustration

      • Volvulus - X-ray

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Volvulus - childhood

            Review Date: 8/1/2012

            Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile