Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 25.3 GI tract

Gastric dilatation and volvulus

Published 20/04/2021

Written by Emma Donnelly and Daniel Lewis

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening condition which requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Although cases have been reported in cats it is more commonly dogs that present with the condition, which involves gaseous distension of the stomach in association with rotation along the longitudinal axis. 

A right lateral abdominal radiograph confirming GDV. The pylorus is the smaller gas-filled structure (a) with a band of soft tissue (b) between that and the fundus of the stomach. Here a soft tissue band does not completely separate the two gas-filled structures.

Key points

Gastric dilatation and volvulus is a life-threatening condition; prompt diagnosis and treatment are vital to reduce morbidity and mortality.


The pathophysiology of gastric dilatation is a complex subject and incompletely elucidated.


Gastric decompression is of the utmost importance when treating this condition, either by placement of a stomach tube or by percutaneous trocharization.


Serum lactate levels are a useful indicator of response to treatment; it is thought to be a positive indicator of survival if the level decreases by > 50% within the first twelve hours of therapy.


Introduction

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening condition which requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Although cases have been reported in cats it is more commonly dogs that present with the condition, which involves gaseous distension of the stomach in association with rotation along the longitudinal axis. Historically the mortality rate from the condition has been regarded as high; different studies put it between 15%-68% 1 2 3 4 5, but with improved understanding of the condition it is hoped that morbidity and mortality will be reduced in future. 
 

Ready to access more content?

Anyone working within the veterinary community can register an account to gain access to exclusive content created by experts.

Register

Already registered? Log in here