Volvulus of the colon

Am Surg. 1991 Mar;57(3):145-50.


The charts of all patients with colonic volvulus at the University of Louisville Hospitals between 1983 and 1988 were reviewed. A total of 45 patients were identified, and there were 17 with cecal volvulus and 29 with sigmoid volvulus (1 had both). Two-thirds of the patients were either demented, bedridden, or used constipating drugs. Initial nonoperative decompression was achieved in 26 of 29 patients with sigmoid volvulus but in only three of nine patients in which it was attempted with cecal volvulus. Two of these recurred, and 16 of the 17 cecal volvulus patients underwent operation. One-third of the sigmoid volvulus patients had at least one recurrent episode on the index admission. Fourteen of the 29 had an operation, and half of these patients died following surgery. Fifteen sigmoid volvulus patients chosen to be treated with successive nonoperative treatment had no mortality. Mortality was higher following emergent (4 of 5) than elective (2 of 9) operation for sigmoid volvulus, and one of three died after operation for a successfully decompressed first episode. Mortality for nonoperative reduction of an early recurrence was zero of four patients, while operative mortality for recurrence was two of seven (all had successful preoperative deflation). There was no mortality or recurrence in four patients with cecal volvulus treated by cecopexy alone, but all three patients died in whom tube cecostomy was performed. Two of nine patients died following right hemicolectomy. These data suggest that if an elective operation is to be performed for sigmoid volvulus, it should be done following one or more recurrences and that nonoperative decompression can be safely performed on successive occasions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colonic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Colonic Diseases / mortality
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction / mortality
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate