Volvulus of the Transverse Colon

Sergio Huerta, Maryanne L. Pickett, Ann M. Mottershaw, Pramod Gupta, Thai Pham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: In the United States, the third leading cause of a large bowel obstruction (LBO) is colonic volvulus with torsion occurring most commonly in the sigmoid and the cecum. Transverse colonic volvulus (TCV) is exceedingly rare and specific involvement of the splenic flexure (SFV) is even less common. The present analysis was undertaken to interrogate current trends in presentation, management, and outcomes of TCV. Methods: In the present report, the world literature was reviewed for the past 90 years (1932 to 2021). We conducted a systematic review to identify all cases of TCV following the PRISMA guidelines. Results: We identified 317 cases of TCV. This included SFV (n = 75), TCV in pediatric patients (n = 63), TCV in pregnant patients (n = 8), and TCV associated with other pathology such as Chilaiditi’s syndrome (n = 11). Compared to sigmoid and cecal volvulus, TCV was rare (.94%). It affected slightly more women (54%) than men, commonly in their third decade of life (37.7 ± 23.8). The clinical presentation and diagnostic imaging were consistent with LBO. Compared to sigmoid volvulus, there was a limited role for conservative management and colonoscopic decompression was less effective. The most common operation was segmental resection (25%). Mortality was (20%) commonly because of cardiopulmonary complications and affected more women (63%). The average age of this cohort was 55.7±24.6 years old. Discussion: Our review showed that TCV is an uncommon surgical entity. The diagnosis is likely to be made at laparotomy. Prompt recognition is paramount in preventing ischemia necrosis and perforation. Compared to sigmoid and cecal volvulus, the mortality for TCV remains high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Surgeon
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • abdominal pain
  • acute abdomen
  • large bowel obstruction
  • Ogilvie’s syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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