Colon volvulus and the geriatric patient

Surg Clin North Am. 1982 Apr;62(2):249-60. doi: 10.1016/s0039-6109(16)42684-8.


One is tempted to believe that volvulus in elderly patients on many occasions may be preceded by inactivity and pseudomegacolon. Owing to psychiatric problems, chronic illness, or institutionalization, the patient is more likely to be subjected to treatment with sedatives and psychotropic drugs, causing decreased neuromuscular function of the gut. The basic principles in treating the volvulus are releasing the volvulus, deciding whether a nonoperative or an operative procedure should be employed, and treating complications. As far as surgical management is concerned, several techniques have been suggested, some of which are still controversial. Colonoscopy appears to have become an important method of treatment for volvulus with clearly established indications. Oddly enough, already hospitalized patients are occasionally subjected to delayed attention for volvulus. Therefore, physicians responsible for the care of geriatric patients should be alerted by even fairly mild symptoms of distention, abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation. Clinical evaluation, including routine films of the abdomen, may avert a major catastrophe.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cecal Diseases / surgery
  • Colonic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Colonic Diseases / etiology*
  • Colonic Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization
  • Intestinal Obstruction / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Obstruction / etiology*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / surgery
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • Recurrence
  • Sigmoid Diseases / surgery
  • Torsion Abnormality


  • Psychotropic Drugs