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Diverticulosis (Diverticular Disease)

A condition marked by small sacs or pouches in the walls of a hollow organ, such as the colon. These sacs can become inflamed and cause a condition called diverticulitis.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Diverticulosis

Diverticular disease is a condition that occurs when a person has problems from small pouches, or sacs, that have formed and pushed outward through weak spots in the colon wall. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are called diverticula.

The colon is part of the large intestine. The large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid form. Diverticula are most common in the lower part of the colon, called the sigmoid colon.

The problems that occur with diverticular disease include diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding. Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become inflamed, or irritated and swollen, and infected. Diverticular bleeding occurs when a small blood vessel within the wall of a diverticulum bursts.

When a person has diverticula that do not cause diverticulitis or diverticular bleeding, the condition is called diverticulosis. NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

[Zenker diverticulum: surgical versus endoscopic treatment]

OBJECTIVE: To review the evidence of safety and effectiveness of endoscopic and surgical treatment of Zenker's diverticulum.

Surgical interventions for pharyngeal pouch

A pharyngeal pouch is a pocket which can develop in the pharynx (throat), just above the entrance to the oesophagus (gullet). It may cause difficulty in swallowing, sensation of a lump in the throat and troublesome regurgitation of food. Food may become lodged in the pouch and this, as well as regurgitation, may lead to weight loss, hoarseness of voice and recurrent chest infections. A pharyngeal pouch is treated by surgery which may either be 'open' (through an incision in the neck) or 'endoscopic' (through the mouth). The review found no evidence to show which surgical method is more effective.

Systematic review on treatment of Zenker's diverticulum

This study was designed to compare rates of failure, revision and morbidity from endoscopic and open approaches as treatment for pharyngeal pouch. Systematic review was conducted using MEDLINE and PubMed databases. Search terms treatment, Zenker's, hypopharyngeal, pharyngeal, diverticulum, and pouch. There were no randomised clinical trials. Therefore, cohort and comparative studies with at least 10 patients in each arm, a follow-up of a least 12 months and reporting on all patients were included. Seventy-one studies met inclusion criteria. Diverticulectomy with or without cricopharyngeal myotomy comprised 33 studies (1,990 patients), and endoscopic stapler diverticulotomy was in 22 studies (1,089 patients). Failure of open and endoscopic approaches was 4.2 and 18.4 %, respectively, and corresponding complication rates were 11 and 7 %. Within endoscopic techniques, failure rates were 18.9 % for stapler diverticulotomy and 21.7 % for laser diverticulotomy. Corresponding complication rates were 4.3 and 7.9 %. Flexible endoscopy techniques have a higher failure (29 %) and overall complication rate (14.3 %). Most reported complications for transcervical techniques relate to the recurrent nerve (3.4 %) and salivary fistula (3.7 %) and for endoscopic group emphysema (3.0 %) and mediastinitis (1.2 %). Operation-related deaths were infrequent in both groups, but more frequent with open approach (0.9 vs. 0.4 %). Open approaches have more success but more complications than endoscopic techniques. Taking in account overall complications and failure rates, open approaches and stapler diverticulotomy yield different patterns, but are arguably comparable. In younger patients open approach is preferred, as well in patients with unfavourable anatomic conditions for endoscopic exposure. Flexible endoscopic techniques provide a suitable option for patients who do not tolerate general anaesthesia.

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Summaries for consumers

Surgical interventions for pharyngeal pouch

A pharyngeal pouch is a pocket which can develop in the pharynx (throat), just above the entrance to the oesophagus (gullet). It may cause difficulty in swallowing, sensation of a lump in the throat and troublesome regurgitation of food. Food may become lodged in the pouch and this, as well as regurgitation, may lead to weight loss, hoarseness of voice and recurrent chest infections. A pharyngeal pouch is treated by surgery which may either be 'open' (through an incision in the neck) or 'endoscopic' (through the mouth). The review found no evidence to show which surgical method is more effective.

Fasting for haemostasis in children with gastrointestinal bleeding

To determine the effects and safety of fasting for haemostasis in children with gastrointestinal bleeding.

Antibiotics for uncomplicated diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition with inflammation of big bowel herniations termed diverticulae. Diverticulae are common in the elderly above age 70 and usually do not cause symptoms. However, in some cases inflammation cause a condition, diverticulitis, with pain in the abdomen and signs of infection like fever. Diverticulitis causes no complications in most cases, however, some develop complications and need surgery. The uncomplicated diverticulitis is the focus of this review. It has traditionally been viewed as an infection with bacterial overgrowth in the big bowel and has therefore been treated with antibiotics. We aimed to investigate if there existed any clinical research, evidence, on the effects of antibiotics for uncomplicated diverticulitis in this review.

More about Diverticulosis

Photo of an adult

Also called: Colonic diverticular disease

See Also: Diverticulitis

Other terms to know:
Colon (Bowel), Diverticulum

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