Send to

Choose Destination



Le CK, Cooper W.


StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019-.
2019 Mar 13.


Volvulus occurs when a loop of intestine twists around itself and the mesentery that supports it, causing a bowel obstruction. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, pain, vomiting, constipation, and bloody stools. The onset of symptoms may be gradual or rapid. The mesentery becomes so tightly twisted that blood supply is cut off, resulting in an ischemic bowel. Pain may be significant and fever may develop.  Risk factors for volvulus include a birth defect known as intestinal malrotation, Hirschsprung disease, an enlarged colon, pregnancy, and abdominal adhesions. A high fiber diet and chronic constipation also increase the risk. In adults, the sigmoid colon and cecum are most affected.  In children, the small intestine and stomach are more commonly involved. Diagnosis is typically made with medical imaging such as plain X-rays, CT scan, or a GI series.  [1] Initial treatment for sigmoid volvulus may be with sigmoidoscopy or a barium enema. Due to the high risk of recurrence, a bowel resection within two days is generally recommended. If the bowel is severely twisted or the blood supply is cut off, emergent surgery is required. In a cecal volvulus, part of the bowel is usually removed. If the cecum is still healthy, it may be returned and sutured in place. 

Copyright © 2019, StatPearls Publishing LLC.

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center