Multiphasic MDCT in small bowel volvulus

Eur J Radiol. 2010 Nov;76(2):e13-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.10.026. Epub 2009 Nov 18.


Objective: Evaluate the use of MDCT with 3D CT angiography (CTA) and CT portal venography (CTPV) reconstruction for the diagnosis of small bowel volvulus (SBV).

Methods: Multiphasic MDCT findings in nine patients (seven males and two females, age range 2-70) with surgically proven SBV were retrospectively reviewed. Non-contrast and double phase contrast enhanced MDCT including 3D CTA and CTPV reconstruction were performed in all the patients. Two experienced abdominal radiologists evaluated the images and defined the location, direction and degree of SBV.

Results: On axial MDCT images, all cases show segmental or global dilatation of small intestine. Other findings include circumferential bowel wall thickening in eight cases, halo appearance and hyperemia in seven cases, whirl sign in six cases, beak-like appearance in six cases, closed loops in six cases and ascites in one case. CTA/CTPV showed abnormal courses involving main trunks of superior mesenteric artery (SMA) and superior mesenteric vein (SMV) in seven cases, with or without distortion of their tributaries. Normal course of SMA but abnormal course of SMV was seen in the other two cases. Of all the nine cases, whirl sign was seen in six cases and barber's pole sign in five cases. Dilated SMV was observed in eight cases and abrupt termination of SMA was found in one case. Compared with surgical findings, the location, direction and degree of SBV were correctly estimated in all cases based on CTA/CTPV.

Conclusion: Multiphasic MDCT with CTA/CTPV reconstruction can play an important role in the diagnosis of SBV. The location, direction and degree of SBV can all be defined preoperatively using this method.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Intestinal Volvulus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestine, Small / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Young Adult