Preoperative sonographic diagnosis of midgut malrotation with volvulus in adults: the "whirlpool" sign

J Clin Ultrasound. 1999 Jun;27(5):279-83. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0096(199906)27:5<279::aid-jcu8>;2-g.


Midgut malrotation and volvulus, found mostly in children, are rare and difficult to diagnose preoperatively in adults. We report 2 cases in which a 68-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman presented with intermittent cramping abdominal pain, abdominal distention, and vomiting. Abdominal sonography demonstrated wrapping of the superior mesenteric vein and bowel loops around the superior mesenteric artery (the "whirlpool sign") in both patients. Abdominal CT revealed similar findings. The diagnoses of midgut volvulus and mesenteric malrotation were made, and the patients underwent laparotomy. The man was confirmed to have duodenojejunal malrotation and volvulus, and the woman had cecal volvulus. The whirlpool sign is valuable for the preoperative diagnosis of mesenteric vessel malrotation and midgut volvulus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestines / abnormalities*
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Mesentery / diagnostic imaging
  • Mesentery / pathology
  • Peritoneal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Peritoneal Diseases / pathology
  • Torsion Abnormality / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography