Techniques in Coloproctology

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 419–424 | Cite as

Sigmoid volvulus: diagnosis in 938 patients over 45.5 years

  • S. S. Atamanalp
Original Article



Sigmoid volvulus (SV) is the wrapping of the sigmoid colon around itself and its mesentery. The goal of this study was to investigate the diagnosis approach to 938 patients with SV treated at our institution and their clinical outcomes.


The clinical records of 938 patients with SV treated at our institution between June 1966 and January 2012 were retrospectively reviewed.


The mean age was 58.6 years (range 10 weeks to 98 years), and 774 patients (82.5 %) were male. A total of 210 (25.1 %) of 837 patients, who provided information on anamnesis and clinical features, had recurrent episodes of volvulus; 215 patients (25.7 %) had comorbidities, and 108 patients (12.9 %) presented with toxic or hypovolemic shock. The mean duration of symptoms was 38.7 h (range 6 h to 7 days), and the most common clinical features were abdominal pain and tenderness (827 of 837 patients, 98.8 %), distention (805 patients, 96.2 %), and obstipation (771 patients, 92.1 %). The final diagnosis was made with endoscopy in 519 patients (55.3 %), endoscopy followed by surgery in 154 patients (16.4 %) and at surgery in 265 patients (28.3 %). The correct diagnosis rate was 71.6 % based on clinical findings compared with 66.7 % based on plain X-ray films, 81.4 % based on both clinical and plain X-ray findings, and 100.0 % based on CT or MRI findings.


Sigmoid volvulus is common in adult men. The disease is generally associated with recurrent episodes, comorbidity, and shock. SV generally presents as a large-bowel obstruction. Although plain X-rays may help with diagnosis, CT and MRI are more reliable diagnostic tools, and flexible endoscopy is always diagnostic. However, surgery is used to diagnose SV in limited situations.


Sigmoid colon Volvulus Radiology Endoscopy 


Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest to the publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Surgery, Faculty of MedicineAtatürk UniversityErzurumTurkey

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