Introduction. Acute intestinal obstruction in pregnancy is a rare, but life-threatening complication associated with high fetal and maternal mortality.
Case report. A 20-year old gravida presented with a 24 hour history of several episodes of vomiting, complete constipation and severe crampy abdominal pain. The patient was admitted with the diagnosis of acute abdomen associated with septic shock. On examination echography showed distended intestinal loops and presence of free peritoneal fluid. Abdominal X-ray with shielding of the fetus revealed colonic air-fluid levels. The obstetrician consult diagnosed dead fetus in utero and was decided to operate immediately. On laparotomy was found complete cecal volvulus with gangrene of cecum, part of ascending colon and terminal ileum. A right hemicolectomy was performed with side to side ileotransverse anastomosis. Afterwards a lower segment cesarean section was made and a stillborn fetus was delivered. The patient made an uneventful recovery and was discharged on 9th postoperative day.
Conclusion. Cecal volvulus during pregnancy is a rare, but serious surgical problem. Correct diagnosis may be difficult until exploratory laparotomy is performed. Undue delay in diagnosis and surgical treatment can increase the maternal and fetal mortality.