Definition of Volvulus
Volvulus: Abnormal twisting of a portion of the gastrointestinal tract, usually the intestine, which can impair blood flow. Volvulus can lead to gangrene and death of the involved segment of the
gastrointestinal tract, intestinal obstruction, perforation of the intestine, and peritonitis. The stomach, small intestine, cecum, and sigmoid colon are all subject to volvulus. Malrotation of the bowel during fetal development can predispose one to a volvulus, which often has a sudden onset. The symptoms and signs of a volvulus may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and blood in the stool. The treatment is surgery to free the obstruction and ensure normal blood flow to the bowel. Volvulus is a surgical emergency.
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012