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Sigmoid and Cecal Volvulus Medication

  • Author: Scott C Thornton, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA  more...
Updated: Nov 30, 2015

Medication Summary

To correct fluid deficits and hypovolemia, the patient is initially resuscitated with intravenous isotonic crystalloid solution.


Isotonic Crystalloids

Class Summary

Isotonic sodium chloride (normal saline [NS]) and lactated Ringer (LR) are isotonic crystalloids, the standard intravenous (IV) fluids used for initial volume resuscitation. They expand the intravascular and interstitial fluid spaces. Typically, about 30% of administered isotonic fluid stays intravascular; therefore, large quantities may be required to maintain adequate circulating volume.

Both fluids are isotonic and have equivalent volume restorative properties. While some differences exist between metabolic changes observed with the administration of large quantities of either fluid, for practical purposes and in most situations, the differences are clinically irrelevant. No demonstrable difference in hemodynamic effect, morbidity, or mortality exists between resuscitation with either NS or LR.

Normal saline (NS, 0.9% NaCl)


NS restores interstitial and intravascular volume. It is used in initial volume resuscitation.

Lactated Ringer


LR restores interstitial and intravascular volume. It is used in initial volume resuscitation.



Class Summary

Colloids are used to provide oncotic expansion of plasma volume. They expand plasma volume to a greater degree than isotonic crystalloids and reduce the tendency of pulmonary and cerebral edema. About 50% of the administered colloid stays intravascular.

Albumin (Buminate, Albuminar)


Albumin is used for certain types of shock or impending shock. It is useful for plasma volume expansion and maintenance of cardiac output. A solution of NS and 5% albumin is available for volume resuscitation. Five percent solutions are indicated to expand plasma volume, whereas 25% solutions are indicated to raise oncotic pressure.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Scott C Thornton, MD Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Colorectal Teaching, Bridgeport Hospital; Private Practice, Park Avenue Surgical Associates

Scott C Thornton, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Neelu Pal, MD General Surgeon

Neelu Pal, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA Vice Chair and Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Gastrointestinal Medicine, and Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Surgical Research, Department of Surgery, Yale-New Haven Hospital; American Gastroenterological Association Fellow

John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA is a member of the following medical societies: American Gastroenterological Association, American Physiological Society, American Society of Nephrology, Association for Academic Surgery, International Society of Nephrology, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract

Disclosure: Received royalty from AMGEN for consulting; Received ownership interest from Ardelyx for consulting.


Brian James Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC Professor, Associate Program Director, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Critical Care, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine

Brian James Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Association for Academic Surgery, Association for Surgical Education, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Shock Society, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Southeastern Surgical Congress, and Tennessee Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David L Morris, MD, PhD, FRACS Professor, Department of Surgery, St George Hospital, University of New South Wales, Australia

David L Morris, MD, PhD, FRACS is a member of the following medical societies: British Society of Gastroenterology

Disclosure: RFA Medical None Director; MRC Biotec None Director

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

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Sigmoid volvulus. (A) Counterclockwise torsion at base of mesentery. (B) Adhesions at base of sigmoid mesocolon leading to formation of fixed omega loop that is susceptible to repeat torsion.
Cecal volvulus. (A) Clockwise torsion of mesentery of cecum, ascending colon, and terminal ileum. (B) Absence of dorsal mesenteric attachments of cecum and proximal ascending colon, leading to lack of fixation to retroperitoneum.
Cecal bascule. (A) Anterior folding of cecum. (B) Lack of dorsal mesenteric fixation of cecum to retroperitoneum.
Plain abdominal radiograph demonstrating massively dilated sigmoid colon loop and convergence of walls of colon into beaklike formation.
CT scan of abdomen demonstrating massive dilation of sigmoid colon and normal caliber of proximal bowel.
Barium enema of sigmoid volvulus revealing termination of contrast in bird's-beak formation at base of volvulus.
Cecal volvulus with associated small bowel obstruction.
Extent of resection required for sigmoid volvulus is limited to resection of omega loop of sigmoid volvulus and resection of sigmoid mesentery.
Divided descending colon and rectum are reanastomosed in hand-sewn manner or with GI stapling device.
Hartmann procedure for sigmoid volvulus.
Extent of resection for cecal volvulus is similar to that in right hemicolectomy for benign disease.
Terminal ileum is anastomosed to transverse colon in reconstruction after right hemicolectomy.
Algorithm for treatment of patients with sigmoid and cecal volvulus.
Variable degrees of attachment of ascending colon to abdominal wall by reflection of overlying parietal peritoneum. (A) Normal attachment. (B) Reflection of peritoneum to create paracolic gutter. (C) Mobile colon with reflection of peritoneum to create colonic mesentery.
Jackson veil over ascending colon contains numerous small blood vessels from renal and lumbar arteries.
Average measurements of sigmoid mesocolon.
Arterial blood supply to colon.
Cecal volvulus with ischemic changes of distended cecum and terminal ileum. Remainder of small bowel involved in volvulus appears distended but not ischemic. No obvious peritoneal contamination is observed.
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