A review of 561 cases of cecal volvulus that were published between 1959 and 1989 along with 7 new cases, was performed to characterize the clinical and laboratory profile and to evaluate the various surgical options in treating this life-threatening condition. The age and sex distribution of these patients have changed over the years and shifted toward older patients (mean, 53 years) and female predominance (female:male ratio, 1.4:1). The clinical presentation was usually of distal closed-loop small bowel obstruction. Forty-six percent of the plain abdominal radiographs were suspected for cecal volvulus, but only 17 percent were diagnostic. Barium enema had a high rate of accuracy (88 percent) and was associated with minimal complications. True volvulus was 6 times more common than bascule, and gangrenous cecum was found in 20 percent of cases. Detorsion alone and cecopexy had almost similar complications, mortality, and recurrence rates (15, 10, and 13 percent, respectively), whereas, resection, which was performed primarily for gangrenous cecum, had higher rates. However, the highest rates of complications (52 percent), mortality (22 percent), and recurrence (14 percent) were noticed after cecostomy. These data suggest that resection should be reserved for patients with necrotic cecum and that detorsion is sufficient for patients with viable cecum. Cecostomy should be abandoned.
© The ASCRS 1990