Pediatric colonic volvulus: A single-institution experience and review

Sami Tannouri, Aditi Hendi, Elizabeth Gilje, Leslie Grissom, Douglas Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose Pediatric colonic volvulus is both rare and underreported. Existing literature consists only of case reports and small series. We present an analysis of cases (n = 11) over 15 years at a single institution, focusing on workup and diagnosis. Methods This was an institutional review board approved single-institution retrospective chart review of 11 cases of large bowel volvulus occurring over 15 years (2000–2015). Results In our series, the most common presenting symptoms were abdominal pain and distention. Afflicted patients often had prior abdominal surgery, a neurodevelopmental disorder or chronic constipation. Of the imaging modalities utilized in the 11 patients studied, colonic volvulus was correctly diagnosed by barium enema in 100% of both cases, CT in 55.6% of cases and by plain radiography of the abdomen in only 22.2%of cases. Colonic volvulus was confirmed by laparotomy in all cases. The cecum (n = 5) was the most often affected colonic segment, followed by the sigmoid (n = 3). Operative treatment mainly consisted of resection (63.6%) and ostomy creation (36.4%). Colopexy was performed in 18.2% of cases. Conclusions Plain abdominal radiography may be performed as an initial diagnostic study, however, it should be followed CT or air or contrast enema in children where there is high clinical suspicion and who do not have indications for immediate laparotomy. CT may be the most specific and useful test in diagnosis of colonic volvulus and has the added advantage of detection of complications including bowel ischemia. We demonstrate a range of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for pediatric colonic volvulus. This underscores the need for further study to draft standard best practices for this life-threatening condition. Level of Evidence Prognosis Study: Level IV. Study of a Diagnostic Test: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1066
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Large bowel obstruction
  • Pediatric volvulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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