Intestinal Malrotation in Babies

Intestinal Malrotation in Babies

About Intestinal tract Malrotation

A digestive tract obstruction is an obstruction of the digestion tract that avoids the appropriate passage of food. Some digestive tract obstructions exist at birth, while others are caused by such issues as hernias, abnormal scar tissue growth after an abdominal operation, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Malrotation is twisting of the intestinal tracts (or bowel) caused by abnormal development while a fetus remains in utero, and can cause obstruction. Malrotation occurs in 1 out of every 500 births in the United States.

Some children with intestinal tract malrotation are born with other involved conditions, including:

  • other defects of the digestion system
  • heart problems
  • irregularities of other organs, including the spleen or liver

Some kids with malrotation never ever experience complications and are never ever identified. However most develop symptoms during infancy, and the bulk are diagnosed by 1 year of age. Although surgery is needed to fix malrotation, most kids will go on to grow and develop normally after treatment.

When a fetus is about five weeks old, her intestine exits her abdominal area into the amniotic fluid (where there’s more area), and continues to grow there. At around 10 weeks, the intestine re-enters the abdomen, and makes two turns. In some cases the intestinal tracts don’t make the turns as they should, leading to the hereditary (present at birth) condition called intestinal malrotation.

How It Can Take place

The little and large intestinal tracts are the longest part of the gastrointestinal system. If extended to their full length, they would measure more than 20 feet long by the adult years, however because they’re folded up, they suit the fairly small space inside the abdominal area.

Malrotation happens when the intestines do not place themselves normally during fetal development and aren’t connected inside appropriately as a result. The precise factor this happens is unidentified.

When a fetus establishes in the womb, the intestines start out as a small, straight tube between the stomach and the anus. As this tube becomes separate organs, the intestines move into the umbilical cord, which supplies nutrients to the developing embryo.

Near completion of the first trimester of pregnancy, the intestinal tracts move from the umbilical cable into the abdomen. When they don’t effectively turn after moving into the abdominal area, malrotation happens.

Malrotation in itself might not cause any problems. However, it can cause other complications:

  • Bands of tissue called Ladd’s bands may form, obstructing the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum).
  • In a condition called volvulus, the bowel twists on itself, cutting off the blood flow to the tissue and triggering the tissue to pass away. The symptoms connected with volvulus, including pain and cramping, are frequently what cause the medical diagnosis of malrotation.
  • Obstruction brought on by volvulus or Ladd’s bands is a potentially deadly problem. The bowel can stop working and digestive tissue can pass away from absence of blood supply if an obstruction isn’t really acknowledged and treated. Volvulus, specifically, is an emergency situation, with the whole small intestine in jeopardy.

Intestinal Malrotation in Babies

Symptoms and signs

Among the earliest signs of malrotation and volvulus is abdominal pain and cramping brought on by the failure of the bowel to push food past the obstruction. When infants experience this cramping they may:

  • pull up their legs and cry
  • stop weeping all of a sudden
  • behave typically for 15 to Thirty Minutes
  • repeat this habits when the next cramp takes place

Babies also might be irritable, sluggish, or have irregular stools.

Vomiting is another symptom of malrotation, and it can assist the doctor determine where the obstruction is located. Vomiting that happens soon after the baby begins to cry typically implies the obstruction is in the small intestine; postponed vomiting generally means the obstruction remains in the big intestinal tract. The vomit may contain bile (which is yellow or green in color) or may look like feces.

Extra symptoms of malrotation and volvulus may include:

  • a swollen abdominal area that’s tender to the touch
  • diarrhea and/or bloody stools (or sometimes no stools at all)
  • irritability or weeping in pain, with nothing seeming to help
  • rapid heart rate and breathing
  • little or no urine due to the fact that of fluid loss
  • fever

Medical diagnosis

If volvulus or another digestive tract clog is believed, the doctor will examine your child and then might order X-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or an ultrasound of the abdominal area.

The doctor may use barium or another liquid contrast representative to see the X-ray or scan more plainly. The contrast can reveal if the bowel has a malformation and can normally figure out where a blockage lies.

Grownups and older kids usually drink barium in a liquid type. Infants may need to be provided barium through a tube placed from the nose into the stomach, or in some cases are given a barium enema, where the liquid barium is placed through the rectum.


Dealing with substantial malrotation almost always requires surgery. The timing and seriousness will depend upon the child’s condition. If there is currently a volvulus, surgery needs to be carried out right now in order to avoid damage to the bowel.

Any child with bowel obstruction will have to be hospitalized. A tube called a nasogastric (NG) tube is generally placed through the nose and down into the stomach to eliminate the contents of the stomach and upper intestinal tracts. This keeps fluid and gas from building up in the abdomen. The child may also be offered intravenous (IV) fluids to assist avoid dehydration and antibiotics to avoid infection.

During the surgery, which is called a Ladd procedure, the intestinal tract is straightened out, the Ladd’s bands are divided, the small intestine is folded into the right side of the abdomen, and the colon is put on the left side.

Due to the fact that the appendix is usually found on the left side of the abdominal area when there is malrotation (generally, the appendix is found on the right), it is gotten rid of. Otherwise, ought to the child ever establish appendicitis, it could complicate medical diagnosis and treatment.

If it appears that blood may still not be streaming appropriately to the intestinal tracts, the doctor might perform a 2nd surgery within 2 Days of the first. If the bowel still looks unhealthy at this time, the damaged portion might be removed.

If the child is seriously ill at the time of surgery, an ileostomy or colostomy will generally be performed. In this procedure, the infected bowel is totally eliminated, and completion of the normal, healthy intestine is brought out through an opening on the skin of the abdomen (called a stoma). Fecal matter travels through this opening and into a bag that is taped or attached with adhesive to the child’s belly.

In young kids, depending on how much bowel was removed, the ileostomy or colostomy is frequently a temporary condition that can later be reversed with another operation.

Most of these surgical treatments succeed, although some kids have repeating issues after surgery. Recurrent volvulus is uncommon, but a 2nd bowel obstruction due to adhesions (scar tissue build-up after any type of abdominal surgery) might occur later.

Children who require elimination of a large portion of the small intestine can have insufficient bowel to preserve sufficient nutrition (a condition called brief bowel syndrome). They might depend on intravenous nutrition for a time after surgery (or perhaps completely if too little intestine remains) and might require an unique diet later.

A lot of kids in whom the volvulus and malrotation are identified early, before permanent injury to the bowel has occurred, do well and develop normally.

If you think any type of digestive tract obstruction since your child has bilious (yellow or green) vomiting, a swollen abdominal area, or bloody stools, call your doctor instantly, and take your child to the emergency room immediately.

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