Volvulus of the Colon:  Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Robert L. Kerry, MD; Henry K. Ransom, MD
Arch Surg. 1969;99(2):215-222. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340140087013.
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Volvulus of the colon is a common surgical condition with a mortality rate as high as 50 percent in some series.1,2 According to the literature, it accounts for 5% of all cases of intestinal obstruction and 10% of colon obstructions.3

It remains a problem in the differential diagnosis of the acute surgical abdomen. Delay in diagnosis and the resultant high mortality prompted this investigation.

Incidence of Colon Volvulus  Review of representative publications since 1960 (Table 1) has revealed the incidence and mortality of the various types of colon volvulus.4-12 The highest mortality was noted in the series made up primarily of cases with sigmoid colon volvulus. The cecum and ascending colon groups had the lowest mortality. The series composed of both right and left colon lesions had a mortality ranging between the two. In this series of the last 18 years from the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital


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