Volvulus of the gastrointestinal tract: appearances at multimodality imaging

Radiographics. Sep-Oct 2009;29(5):1281-93. doi: 10.1148/rg.295095011.


Volvulus of the gastrointestinal tract, a clinically relevant cause of acute or recurring abdominal pain in adults, remains a diagnostic dilemma for radiologists in a large number of cases. The clinical symptoms associated with volvulus are often nonspecific and include pain and nausea with vomiting. Yet referring clinicians often rely on radiologists to make the diagnosis; volvulus is rarely diagnosed clinically. Radiography, fluoroscopy, and computed tomography are the imaging methods most often used for this purpose. Prompt diagnosis is critical to avoid life-threatening complications such as bowel ischemia and infarction. Thus, it is useful for radiologists to be familiar with the various appearances of volvulus throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Volvulus / diagnosis*
  • Stomach Volvulus / diagnosis*
  • Subtraction Technique*