Learn About Childhood Volvulus

What is the definition of Childhood Volvulus?

A volvulus is a twisting of the intestine that can occur in childhood. It causes a blockage that may cut off blood flow. Part of the intestine may be damaged as a result.

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What are the alternative names for Childhood Volvulus?

Childhood volvulus; Abdominal pain - volvulus

What are the causes of Childhood Volvulus?

A birth defect called intestinal malrotation can make an infant more likely to develop a volvulus. However, a volvulus can occur without this condition present.

Volvulus due to malrotation occurs most often in the first year of life.

What are the symptoms of Childhood Volvulus?

Common symptoms of volvulus are:

  • Bloody or dark red stools
  • Constipation or difficulty releasing stools
  • Distended abdomen
  • Pain or tenderness in the abdomen
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shock
  • Vomiting green material

Symptoms are very often severe. The infant in such cases is taken to the emergency room. Early treatment can be critical for survival.

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What are the current treatments for Childhood Volvulus?

In some cases, colonoscopy can be used to correct the problem. This involves use of a flexible tube with a light on the end that is passed into the colon (large bowel) through the rectum.

Emergency surgery is often needed to repair the volvulus. A surgical cut is made in the abdomen. The bowels are untwisted and the blood supply is restored.

If a small segment of bowel is dead from a lack of blood flow (necrotic), it is removed. The ends of the bowel are then sewn together. Or, they are used to form a connection of the intestines to the outside of the body (colostomy or ileostomy). Bowel contents can be removed through this opening.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Childhood Volvulus?

Most of the time, prompt diagnosis and treatment of volvulus leads to a good outcome.

If the bowel is dead, the outlook is poor. The situation may be fatal, depending on how much of the bowel is dead.

What are the possible complications of Childhood Volvulus?

Possible complications of volvulus are:

  • Secondary peritonitis
  • Short bowel syndrome (after removal of a large part of the small bowel)
When should I contact a medical professional for Childhood Volvulus?

This is an emergency condition. The symptoms of childhood volvulus develop quickly and the child will become very ill. Get medical attention right away if this happens.

Volvulus - X-ray
What are the latest Childhood Volvulus Clinical Trials?
Safety and Efficacy of Endoscopic Assisted Push Gastrostomy Using Gastropexy Technique

Summary: Most pediatric gastroenterologists use an endoscopic pull technique to place gastrostomy tubes. We assessed an endoscopic gastropexy technique for gastrostomy tube placement that allows immediate placement of a low profile gastrostomy tube or gastro-jejunostomy tube. The procedure involves endoscopy with the placement of three T-fasteners that are placed through the skin into the stomach, placatin...

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Summary: Hartmann's procedure was described for the first time in 1921 as an alternative to abdominoperineal resection for the treatment of upper rectal tumours. Although Hartmann's procedure fell out of favour for rectal cancer after the introduction of restorative procedures, it remained the most common procedure in emergency setting for many years. Nowadays Hartmann's procedure is a useful procedure in ...

What are the Latest Advances for Childhood Volvulus?
Non-invasive treatment of sigmoid volvulus in a child. The role of the endoscopist.
Primary Volvulus of the Small Intestine Mimicking Nonocclusive Mesenteric Ischemia Following Open-heart Surgery.
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Is Laparoscopy Underutilized for Sigmoid Volvulus?
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: July 15, 2020
Published By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Maqbool A, Liacouras CA. Major symptoms and signs of digestive tract disorders. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 332.

Mokha J. Vomiting and nausea. In: Wyllie R, Hyams JS, Kay M, eds. Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 8.

Peterson MA, Wu AW. Disorders of the large intestine. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 85.

Turay F, Rudolph JA. Nutrition and gastroenterology. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 11.