INTRODUCTION. Gastric volvulus is an important cause of nonbilious emesis that must be recognized early to ensure a good outcome. We reviewed 7 cases from our institution, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (Egleston campus). In addition, we reviewed all gastric volvulus cases in children published to date in the English literature to draw general conclusions about the presentation and treatment of this unusual disease.

METHODS. An electronic literature search was performed to find all published cases of pediatric gastric volvulus. The care of all children from January 2002 to December 2007 who were treated for gastric volvulus was also reviewed.

RESULTS. There have been 581 cases of gastric volvulus in children published in English between 1929 and 2007. Of these, 252 were acute and 329 were chronic cases. The most common presentation of acute gastric volvulus is in a child <5 years old with nonbilious emesis, epigastric distention, and abdominal pain. Acute gastric volvulus is often associated with deformities of adjacent organs. Definitive diagnosis is made with upper gastrointestinal studies, and definitive therapy requires repair of associated defects and anterior fixation of the stomach to the abdominal wall. The most common presentation of chronic volvulus is in an infant <1 year old with emesis, epigastric distention, feeding difficulties, and growth failure. Treatment may be medical or surgical depending on the underlying etiology of the volvulus.

CONCLUSIONS. Acute gastric volvulus is a potentially life-threatening occurrence with a good outcome when treated in a timely fashion. Chronic volvulus may be more difficult to recognize. The common features of acute and chronic gastric volvulus described in this review should assist pediatric health care providers in promptly diagnosing and treating this disease.

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