Malrotation beyond infancy

J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Nov;47(11):2026-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2012.06.013.


Objective: The aim of this work was to study the various presentations of malrotation and management in patients older than 1 year.

Materials and methods: Medical records of patients operated on over the last 6 years who were older than 1 year with a diagnosis of intestinal malrotation were evaluated retrospectively. Data about age at presentation, sex, presenting symptoms, time to diagnosis, radiographic imaging performed, surgical intervention, complications, and postoperative follow-up were collected and evaluated.

Results: The study population included 35 children and 3 adults. About three-fourths of pediatric patients were younger than 5 years, and about half of these presented in the second year of life. All patients who presented in the second year of life had a classical presentation of malrotation. Older patients presented more commonly with atypical symptoms. Of these, 5 older children were previously treated for suspected diagnosis of abdominal tuberculosis. Two patients were referred for acute pancreatitis and 1 for severe gastroesophageal reflux disease. Three adults presented with acute small intestinal obstruction and were diagnosed to have malrotation intraoperatively. Upper gastrointestinal contrast study was diagnostic of malrotation in all pediatric patients. Ultrasound and color Doppler study of the abdomen revealed abnormal relationship of the superior mesenteric artery and vein in about one-third of the patients. All patients underwent a standard Ladd procedure. Midgut volvulus was present in about one-fourth of patients. Forty percent of patients with atypical presentation had persistence of preoperative symptoms postoperatively. Two adults developed complications postoperatively. There was no mortality in the present study.

Conclusion: Malrotation should be suspected in all patients with varied acute or chronic abdominal symptoms, and the upper gastrointestinal contrast study should be conducted. If the existence of typical malrotation is confirmed, surgical correction is mandatory to avoid volvulus and intestinal obstruction independently of the patient's age.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Volvulus* / congenital
  • Intestinal Volvulus* / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Volvulus* / surgery
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Radiography, Abdominal
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler
  • Young Adult