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Background: Small intestinal volvulus (SIV) is a common surgical emergency encountered
in many countries. It was reported as the most common cause of intestinal obstruction in the
southern part of Ethiopia.
Objective: This study was intended to evaluate the magnitude and treatment outcome of SIV
in a rural hospital.
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting: A rural general hospital with 250 beds.
Subjects: Ninety eight of 235 patients operated on for acute intestinal obstruction. There
were 88 males and 10 females (age range of 16-65 years I.
Intervention: All patients who were operated on for acute intestinal obstruction during 1992-
1996 were included.
Main outcome measures: Age of patients, duration of the illness and extent of the bowel
involved, treatment, and complications were the main outcome measures.
Results: Of the 235 patients with acute intestinal obstruction, 98 (41.7%) had SIV. The mean
age was 34 years (range 16-65 years). The male to female ratio was 8.8:l.O. SIV occurred
nnostly among young adults most of whom were farmers. Postoperative complications
occurred in 36 cases. The mortality rate was 13.3%, sepsis being the most frequent cause of
Conclusion: Small intestinal volvulus was the leading cause of intestinal obstruction in this
series. Early diagnosis and prompt operative interve~ttion minimises the morbidity and
mortality rate.

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