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Multicentre study of non‐surgical management of diverticulitis with abscess formation. BJS 2019; 106: 458-466.

Published: 27th February 2019

Authors: D. P. V. Lambrichts, H. E. Bolkenstein, D. C. H. E. van der Does, D. Dieleman, R. M. P. H. Crolla, J. W. T. Dekker et al.

Background

Treatment strategies for diverticulitis with abscess formation have shifted from (emergency) surgical treatment to non‐surgical management (antibiotics with or without percutaneous drainage (PCD)). The aim was to assess outcomes of non‐surgical treatment and to identify risk factors for adverse outcomes.

Method

Patients with a first episode of CT‐diagnosed diverticular abscess (modified Hinchey Ib or II) between January 2008 and January 2015 were included retrospectively, if initially treated non‐surgically. Baseline characteristics, short‐term (within 30 days) and long‐term treatment outcomes were recorded. Treatment failure was a composite outcome of complications (perforation, colonic obstruction and fistula formation), readmissions, persistent diverticulitis, emergency surgery, death, or need for PCD in the no‐PCD group. Regression analyses were used to analyse risk factors for treatment failure, recurrences and surgery.

Results

Overall, 447 patients from ten hospitals were included (Hinchey Ib 215; Hinchey II 232), with a median follow‐up of 72 (i.q.r. 55–93) months. Most patients were treated without PCD (332 of 447, 74·3 per cent). Univariable analyses, stratified by Hinchey grade, showed no differences between no PCD and PCD in short‐term treatment failure (Hinchey I: 22·3 versus 33 per cent, P = 0·359; Hinchey II: 25·9 versus 36 per cent, P = 0·149) or emergency surgery (Hinchey I: 5·1 versus 6 per cent, P = 0·693; Hinchey II: 10·4 versus 15 per cent, P = 0·117), but significantly more complications were found in patients with Hinchey II disease undergoing PCD (12 versus 3·7 per cent; P = 0·032). Multivariable analyses showed that treatment strategy (PCD versus no PCD) was not independently associated with short‐term treatment failure (odds ratio (OR) 1·47, 95 per cent c.i. 0·81 to 2·68), emergency surgery (OR 1·29, 0·56 to 2·99) or long‐term surgery (hazard ratio 1·08, 95 per cent c.i. 0·69 to 1·69). Abscesses of at least 3 cm in diameter were associated with short‐term treatment failure (OR 2·05, 1·09 to 3·86), and abscesses of 5 cm or larger with the need for surgery during short‐term follow‐up (OR 2·96, 1·03 to 8·13).

Conclusion

The choice between PCD with antibiotics or antibiotics alone as initial non‐surgical treatment of Hinchey Ib and II diverticulitis does not seem to influence outcomes.

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