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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Nov;36(9):886-94.

Acute diverticulitis: demographic, clinical and laboratory features associated with computed tomography findings in 741 patients.

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  • 1Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, CA 91101, USA. george.f.longstreth@kp.org



Computed tomography (CT) demonstrates diverticulitis severity.


To assess demographic, clinical and leucocyte features in association with severity.


We reviewed medical records of 741 emergency department cases and in-patients with diverticulitis. CT findings were: (i) nondiagnostic; (ii) moderate (peri-colic inflammation); and (iii) severe (abscess and/or extra-luminal gas and/or contrast).


Patients with severe vs. nondiagnostic/moderate findings had fewer females (42.4% vs. 58.2%, P = .004), less lower abdominal pain only (74.7% vs. 83.7%, P = .042) and more constipation (24.4% vs. 12.5%, P = .002), fever (52.2% vs. 27.0%, P < .0001), leucocytosis (81.5% vs. 55.2%, P < .0001), neutrophilia (86.2% vs. 59.0%, P < .0001), ‘bandemia’ (18.5% vs. 5.5%, P < .0001) and the triad of abdominal pain, fever and leucocytosis (46.7% vs. 19.9%, P < .0001) respectively. Severe vs. nondiagnostic/moderate findings occurred in 4.8% vs. 95.2% without fever or leucocytosis, 7.0% vs. 93.0% with fever, 12.3% vs. 87.7% with leucocytosis and 25.1% vs. 74.9% with fever and leucocytosis respectively (P < .0001). The former group (odds ratio [95% CI]) included females less often (0.45 [0.26-0.76]) and had less lower abdominal pain only (0.54 [0.29-0.99]) and more constipation (2.32 [1.27-4.23]), fever (2.13 [1.27-3.57]) and leucocytosis (2.67 [1.43-4.99]).


Less than 50% of severe cases have the clinical/laboratory triad of abdominal pain, fever and leucocytosis, but only 1 of 20 with pain who lack fever and leucocytosis have severe diverticulitis. Male gender, pain not limited to the lower abdomen, constipation, fever and leucocytosis are independently associated with severe diverticulitis.

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