Diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of small bowel volvulus in adults: A monocentric summary of a rare small intestinal obstruction

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.


Objectives Small bowel volvulus is a rare disease, which is also challenging to diagnose. The aims of this study were to characterize the clinical and radiological features associated with small bowel volvulus and treatment and to identify risk factors for associated small bowel necrosis. Methods Patients with small bowel volvulus who underwent operations from January 2001 to December 2015 at the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University (Shenyang, China) were reviewed. Clinical, surgical and postsurgical data were registered and analyzed. Results Thirty-one patients were included for analysis. Fifteen patients were female (48.4%), with an average age of 47.7 years (18±79 years). The clinical signs and symptoms were unspecific and resembled intestinal obstruction. Clinical examination revealed abdominal distension and/or diffuse tenderness with or without signs of peritonitis. The use of CT scans, X-rays or ultrasound did not differ significantly between patients. In 9 of 20 patients that received abdominal CT scans, 'whirlpool sign' on the CT scan was present. Secondary small bowel volvulus was present in 58.1% of patients, and causes included bands (3), adhesion (7), congenital anomalies (7) and stromal tumor (1). Out of the 31 patients, 15 with gangrenous small bowel had to undergo intestinal resection. Intestinal gangrene was present with higher neutrophils count (p<0.0001) and the presence of bloody ascites (p = 0.004). Three patients died of septic shock (9.68%), and the recurrence rate was 3.23%. Conclusions To complete an early and accurate diagnosis, a CT scan plus physical exam seems to be the best plan. After diagnosis, an urgent laparotomy must be performed to avoid intestinal necrosis and perforation. After surgery, more than 90% of the patients can expect to have a favorable prognosis.




Li, X., Zhang, J., Li, B., Yi, D., Zhang, C., Sun, N., … Jiao, A. (2017). Diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of small bowel volvulus in adults: A monocentric summary of a rare small intestinal obstruction. PLoS ONE, 12(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175866

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free