Research Article| Volume 58, ISSUE 2, P209-212, February 2023

Impact of bowel rotation and fixation on obstructive complications in congenital diaphragmatic hernia


      • Malrotation and nonfixation are associated with increased small bowel obstruction (SBO).
      • Normal rotation is not fully protective from volvulus.
      • Malrotation without LADD procedure may increase risk for SBO including volvulus.
      • Bowel rotation and fixation should be evaluated during initial surgery, routinely documented and used for family counseling.


      Aim of the study

      Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is a known complication after congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) repair, which can require surgery and even extensive bowel resection causing short bowel syndrome (SBS). We investigate whether specific bowel rotation and fixation can be used as a predictor for SBO including volvulus.


      A retrospective review of 256 CDH survivors following repair from 2003 to 2020 was performed. Operative notes and upper gastrointestinal series (UGI) were screened to determine the rotation and fixation of the bowel. Primary outcomes included SBO occurrence, SBO treated surgically, and volvulus. For statistical analysis Fisher's exact test was utilized.


      Twenty-two (9%) patients presented with SBO and majority, 19 (86%), required surgery. Adhesion were observed in 10 (45%), recurrence in 5 (23%), and extensive volvulus leading to SBS in 3 (14%). Both rotation and fixation were recorded in 117 (46%). Presence of left CDH with malrotation and nonfixation was a significant predictor for SBO requiring surgery (P<0.05 vs all other groups). All 3 patients with extensive volvulus had left CDH with nonfixed bowel (100%), however only 1 had malrotation (33%).


      Malrotation and nonfixation are associated with increased SBO in CDH. Normal rotation is not protective and patients are still at risk for volvulus resulting in SBS. SBO requiring surgical intervention is common in CDH. Bowel rotation and fixation are important determinants that, should be routinely documented and education about the risk of SBO should be included in family counseling.

      Level of Evidence

      Level IV – Case Series


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