Experience with colonic volvulus

Dis Colon Rectum. 1989 May;32(5):409-16. doi: 10.1007/BF02563694.


Fifty-eight cases of colonic volvulus were reviewed including 30 cases of sigmoid volvulus, 27 cases of cecal volvulus, and 1 of transverse colon volvulus. Decompression procedures were attempted in 31 instances of sigmoid volvulus in 27 patients and were successful 25 times (81 percent). Seven patients with sigmoid volvulus did not undergo surgery and of those, two died of unrelated causes, one was lost to follow-up, one was well, and three had recurrent volvulus. Twenty-four operations were performed on 23 patients and there were three deaths (13 percent mortality). There was one recurrence in two patients who underwent simple detorsion. Chronic large-bowel motility disturbances were a persistent problem in 9 of 20 (45 percent) surgical survivors. Among 27 instances of cecal volvulus, one was reduced by contrast enema and ten endoscopic attempts at decompression were unsuccessful. Twenty-six operations were done and there were four operative deaths (15 percent mortality). There were no recurrences. Large-bowel motility disorders were noted in follow-up in 3 of 22 patients (14 percent). Overall there were 10 deaths in 58 patients for a 17 percent mortality rate. These data support the importance of endoscopic decompression for sigmoid volvulus but not for cecal volvulus. Definitive treatment of both forms of volvulus should include assessment of colonic motility.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Colonic Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Colonic Diseases* / therapy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Obstruction* / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction* / physiopathology
  • Intestinal Obstruction* / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies