Janes S, Meagher A, Frizelle FA. Elective surgery after acute diverticulitis

Colorectal Unit, Department of Surgery, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand.
British Journal of Surgery (Impact Factor: 5.54). 02/2005; 92(2):133-42. DOI: 10.1002/bjs.4873
Source: PubMed


Diverticulitis is a common condition. Practice guidelines from many organizations recommend bowel resection after two attacks. The evidence for such a recommendation is reviewed.
A Medline literature search was performed to locate English language articles on surgery for diverticular disease. Further articles were obtained from the references cited in the literature initially reviewed.
Most people with diverticulosis are asymptomatic. Diverticular disease occurs in over 25 per cent of the population, increasing with age. After one episode of diverticulitis one-third of patients have recurrent symptoms; after a second episode a further third have a subsequent episode. Perforation is commonest during the first episode of acute diverticulitis. After recovering from an episode of diverticulitis the risk of an individual requiring an urgent Hartmann's procedure is one in 2000 patient-years of follow-up. Surgery for diverticular disease has a high complication rate and 25 per cent of patients have ongoing symptoms after bowel resection.
There is no evidence to support the idea that elective surgery should follow two attacks of diverticulitis. Further prospective trials are required.

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    • "Emergency surgery is indicated in patients who have purulent or fecal peritonitis. Otherwise complicated diverticulitis is generally considered as an indication for elective colon resection in a later stage [8, 9]. "
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    • "According to an earlier iteration of the guidelines of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), resection is usually recommended after two uncomplicated attacks of diverticulitis. Conversely, Janes et al. found no evidence to support this recommendation [8]. The most recently published ASCRS guidelines state that decisions about whether patients should undergo colectomy after recovery from acute diverticulitis should be made on a case-by-case basis [9]. "
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