Sigmoid Diverticulitis A Systematic Review

JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association (Impact Factor: 35.29). 01/2014; 311(3):287-97. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.282025
Source: PubMed


Diverticulitis is a common disease. Recent changes in understanding its natural history have substantially modified treatment paradigms.
To review the etiology and natural history of diverticulitis and recent changes in treatment guidelines.
We searched the MEDLINE and Cochrane databases for English-language articles pertaining to diagnosis and management of diverticulitis published between January 1, 2000, and March 31, 2013. Search terms applied to 4 thematic topics: pathophysiology, natural history, medical management, and indications for surgery. We excluded small case series and articles based on data accrued prior to 2000. We hand searched the bibliographies of included studies, yielding a total of 186 articles for full review. We graded the level of evidence and classified recommendations by size of treatment effect, according to the guidelines from the American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines.
Eighty articles met criteria for analysis. The pathophysiology of diverticulitis is associated with altered gut motility, increased luminal pressure, and a disordered colonic microenvironment. Several studies examined histologic commonalities with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome but were focused on associative rather than causal pathways. The natural history of uncomplicated diverticulitis is often benign. For example, in a cohort study of 2366 of 3165 patients hospitalized for acute diverticulitis and followed up for 8.9 years, only 13.3% of patients had a recurrence and 3.9%, a second recurrence. In contrast to what was previously thought, the risk of septic peritonitis is reduced and not increased with each recurrence. Patient-reported outcomes studies show 20% to 35% of patients managed nonoperatively progress to chronic abdominal pain compared with 5% to 25% of patients treated operatively. Randomized trials and cohort studies have shown that antibiotics and fiber were not as beneficial as previously thought and that mesalamine might be useful. Surgical therapy for chronic disease is not always warranted.
Recent studies demonstrate a lesser role for aggressive antibiotic or surgical intervention for chronic or recurrent diverticulitis than was previously thought necessary.

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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Diverticulitis of the sigmoid colon is an increasingly common disease. Patterns of care and management guidelines have significantly evolved in recent years. OBJECTIVES To review and classify the primary data published since 2000 that are guiding decision making, technical considerations, and the outcomes of surgery for sigmoid diverticulitis. EVIDENCE REVIEW We searched the National Guideline Clearinghouse, PubMed, and Cochrane databases for studies pertaining to the diagnosis and management of chronic and recurrent diverticulitis from January 1, 2000, to March 31, 2013. We supplemented this automated search with references drawn from included studies and PubMed. We rated the level of evidence according to American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. FINDINGS We identified 68 studies meeting inclusion criteria for final review. The studies were almost exclusively observational and had limited certainty of treatment effect. We found that complicated recurrence after recovery from an uncomplicated episode of diverticulitis is rare (<5%) and that age at onset younger than 50 years and 2 or more recurrences do not increase the risk of complications. Chronic symptoms may persist even after resection in 5% to 22% of patients. Prophylactic surgery is generally not recommended for average-risk patients with diverticulitis, irrespective of the number of episodes of acute, noncomplicated disease. Decisions to proceed with colon resection should be based instead on the patient-reported frequency and severity of diverticulitis symptoms. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The prior standard for proceeding with elective colectomy following 2 episodes of diverticulitis is no longer accepted. Decisions to proceed with colectomy should be made based on consideration of the risks of recurrent diverticulitis, the morbidity of surgery, ongoing symptoms, the complexity of disease, and operative risk. Laparoscopic surgery is preferred to open approaches. Recent evidence suggests that existing guidelines should be updated.
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