A volvulus is a malrotation or twisting of the bowel or intestine and can be caused by an abnormality in the bowel rotation, ingestion of a foreign body or adhesions. In adults, it is frequently involves the sigmoid colon where as in children, it is usually the small bowel. Even though the cause of a volvulus may not be due to medical malpractice or negligence, the failure to diagnose a twisted bowel could be negligent. If a volvulus is not diagnosed or treated right away, it could have a mortality or death rate of 42-65 percent.
A volvulus can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating or distension, bloody stools, abdominal pain, constipation and even septic shock. If the twisted bowel is not immediately diagnosed and treated it could lead to bowel strangulation, a lack of blood flow and oxygen or ischemia, bowel infarction, bowel perforation and severe infection or peritonitis.
If a volvulus is suspected, the doctor or physician may order the following diagnostic tests to diagnose or rule out bowel twisting:
If a volvulus is diagnosed, treatment is based on the patient’s age and where the twisted bowel is located. If there is necrotic bowel, immediate surgical intervention and bowel resection is required. If it is a child with a mid-gut volvulus they usually undergo surgery and have a Ladd procedure performed where the surgeon can directly see the twisted bowel and correct it. Sometimes, in adults, a non-surgical procedure where a sigmoidoscope or rectal tube is inserted to deflate the bowel can be done to help allow the bowel to relax and untwist without needing surgery.
Successful treatment of a volvulus depends on prompt diagnose and treatment before there is bowel death or severe peritonitis. If you or a loved one developed a bowel obstruction of volvulus that went undiagnosed and it caused severe and permanent damage, you may be eligible for compensation.
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