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Gastroenterology. 2019 Jan 17. pii: S0016-5085(19)30046-0. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.12.033. [Epub ahead of print]

Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of Diverticulitis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave, Box 359773, Seattle, WA 98104. Electronic address:
S-SPIRE Center and Department of Surgery, Stanford University, Stanford California, 1070 Arastradero Rd, Ste 217, CA 94305.


Diverticulitis is a prevalent gastrointestinal disorder that is associated with significant morbidity and health care costs. Approximately 20% of patients with incident diverticulitis have at least 1 recurrence. Complications of diverticulitis, such as abdominal sepsis, are less likely to occur with subsequent events. Several risk factors, many of which are modifiable, have been identified including obesity, diet, and physical inactivity. Diet and lifestyle factors could affect risk of diverticulitis through their effects on the intestinal microbiome and inflammation. Preliminary studies have found that the composition and function of the gut microbiome differ between individuals with vs without diverticulitis. Genetic factors, as well as alterations in colonic neuromusculature, can also contribute to the development of diverticulitis. Less-aggressive and more-nuanced treatment strategies have been developed. Two multicenter, randomized trials of patients with uncomplicated diverticulitis found that antibiotics did not speed recovery or prevent subsequent complications, and guidelines now recommend antibiotics for only specific patients. Elective surgical resection is no longer recommended solely based on number of recurrent events or young patient age and might not be necessary for some patients with diverticulitis complicated by abscess. Randomized trials of hemodynamically stable patients who require more emergent surgery for acute, complicated diverticulitis that has not improved with antibiotics provide evidence to support primary anastomosis vs sigmoid colectomy with end colostomy. Despite these advances, more research is needed to increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of diverticulitis and to clarify treatment algorithms.


chronic manifestations; functional symptoms; immunosuppression; laparoscopic lavage; smoldering diverticulitis

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