Pediatric ovarian torsion: case series and review of the literature

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Abstract

Background

Ovarian torsion in children is an uncommon cause of acute abdominal pain but mandates early surgical management to prevent further adnexal damage. The clinical presentation mimics other pathologies, such as appendicitis. We sought to more completely characterize ovarian torsion with respect to pain and ancillary studies, such as urinalysis.

Methods

We performed a retrospective review of hospital charts of all patients aged 0–18 years with a diagnosis of ovarian torsion at the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, in London, Ont., from 1993 to 2008.

Results

We analyzed 13 charts of patients aged 7 months to 18 years. Most patients presented with peripheral leukocytosis, vomiting and right lower quadrant pain that did not radiate or migrate. On urinalysis, about half the patients demonstrated pyuria without bacteruria. Pelvic ultrasound revealed an ovarian cyst on the same side of the pain in 11 of 13 patients. Most were found to have a hemorrhagic cyst or ovary and underwent salpingo-oophorectomy or cystectomy within 48 hours of presentation.

Conclusion

Ovarian torsion should be considered in any female child with acute onset lower abdominal pain accompanied by vomiting. Pain can be characterized as constant or colicky, but unlike with appendicitis, does not typically migrate. Sterile pyuria is found in a substantial proportion of cases. Ultrasound is the most useful initial diagnostic modality, but the absence of flow on Doppler imaging is not always present. Conservative management with detorsion and oophoropexy is recommended.

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