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World J Emerg Surg. 2008 Jan 24;3:5. doi: 10.1186/1749-7922-3-5.

Complicated diverticular disease of the colon, do we need to change the classical approach, a retrospective study of 110 patients in southeast England.

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Department of general surgery, Princess Royal University Hospital, Kent, UK.



Complicated diverticular disease of the colon imposes a serious risk to patient's life, challenge to surgeons and has cost implications for health authority. The aim of this study is to evaluate the management outcome of complicated colonic diverticular disease in a district hospital and to explore the current strategies of treatment.


This is a retrospective study of all patients who were admitted to the surgical ward between May 2002 and November 2006 with a diagnosis of complicated diverticular disease. A proforma of patients' details, admission date, ITU admission, management outcomes and the follow up were recorded from the patients case notes and analyzed. The mean follow-up was 34 months (range 6-60 months)


The mean age of patients was 72.7 years (range 39-87 years). Thirty-one men (28.18 %) and Seventy-nine women (71.81%) were included in this study. Male: female ratio was 1:2.5.Sixty-eight percent of patients had one or more co-morbidities. Forty-one patients (37.27%) had two or more episodes of diverticulitis while 41.8% of them had no history of diverticular disease.Eighty-six percent of patients presented with acute abdominal pain while bleeding per rectum was the main presentation in 14%. Constipation and erratic bowel habit were the commonest chronic symptoms in patients with history of diverticular disease. Generalized tenderness was reported in 64.28% while 35.71% have left iliac fossa tenderness. Leukocytosis was reported in 58 patients (52.72%).The mean time from the admission until the start of operative intervention was 20.57 hours (range 4-96 hours). Perforation was confirmed in 59.52%. Mortality was 10.90%. Another 4 (3.63%) died during follow up for other reasons.


Complicated diverticular disease carries significant morbidity and mortality. These influenced by patient-related factors. Because of high mortality and morbidities, we suggest the need to target a specific group of patients for prophylactic resection.

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