This condition with its acute and recurring presentations has been described for thousands of years, as have the rudimentary therapies used. The first recording of volvulus dates to ancient Egypt, where it was noted on the Ebers Papyrus (ca. 1550 BC) the description of its natural course to be either spontaneous reduction or “rotting” of the intestines. In addition, some rudimentary techniques were described for the manipulation of the abdomen to stimulate its resolution. Hippocrates (about 400 BC) later noted in his “diseases” and “affections” that certain bowel obstructions, possibly caused by sigmoid volvulus, could be resolved and decompressed with the use of a long suppository ten digits long or ∼22 cm, injecting a large quantity of air into the intestines via the anus. To date, the modern proctoscopic decompression requires similar instrument length. It was later in the nineteenth century that this intervention was reexplored as a potential technique in clinical use.
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