Outcomes after medical and surgical treatment of diverticulitis: a systematic review of the available evidence.

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Outcomes after medical and surgical treatment of diverticulitis: a systematic review of the available evidence.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Sep;22(9):1360-8

Authors: Peppas G, Bliziotis IA, Oikonomaki D, Falagas ME

There is still controversy regarding the appropriate management of diverticulitis of the colon in cases when both surgical and conservative treatment may be an option. We performed a systematic review of the available evidence regarding the outcomes after medical and surgical treatment of diverticulitis from studies published after 1980 and indexed in the PubMed database. We included original studies that reported comparative data for at least one outcome in medically- and surgically-treated patients with transverse or left colon diverticulitis. The main outcomes of interest were mortality, morbidity, and recurrence of diverticulitis after medical or surgical treatment. There were 21 studies fulfilling our inclusion criteria out of 1360 initially identified as possibly relevant. More patients were treated conservatively in the included studies compared to emergency surgery (24 862 vs 6504). Emergency surgery was the main option for patients with severe complications of diverticular disease, including peritonitis. In most studies, in-hospital mortality for patients treated surgically was generally higher than that of patients treated medically, whereas there were insufficient comparative data regarding mortality during follow up. However, readmission to the hospital due to diverticular disease during follow up was more common in the group of patients treated conservatively compared to those treated surgically (4358/23 446 [18.6%]vs 22/359 [6.1%]). Conservatively-treated patients, with a first or second episode of diverticulitis, required surgery for recurrent disease during follow up in a maximum of 45% of cases, with larger studies reporting percentages lower than 11%. It should be emphasized that medical and surgical treatments have not ever been compared in a randomized controlled trial in patients with diverticulitis (without generalized peritonitis that is a surgical emergency). Although medical treatment results in more readmissions due to recurrence, it may be reasonable to avoid surgical therapy in the vast majority of patients with acute diverticulitis. It is unclear what the best treatment option is for younger patients (<50 years), namely whether elective surgery should be considered with the first episode of diverticulitis.

PMID: 17716342 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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