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Population‐based study of outcomes following an initial acute diverticular abscess. BJS 2019; 106: 467-476.

Published: 18th October 2018

Authors: C. T. Aquina, A. Z. Becerra, Z. Xu, C. F. Justiniano, K. Noyes, J. R. T. Monson et al.


Studies examining long‐term outcomes following resolution of an acute diverticular abscess have been limited to single‐institution chart reviews. This observational cohort study compared outcomes between elective colectomy and non‐operative management following admission for an initial acute diverticular abscess.


The Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System was queried for unscheduled admissions for an initial acute diverticular abscess in 2002–2010. Bivariable and propensity‐matched multivariable analyses compared stoma rates and use of healthcare in patients who had an elective resection and those receiving non‐operative management. Diverticulitis recurrence rates were analysed for non‐operative management.


Among 10 342 patients with an initial acute diverticular abscess, one‐third (3270) underwent surgical intervention within 30 days despite initial non‐operative management. Of the remaining 7072 patients, 1660 had an elective colectomy within 6 months. Of 5412 patients receiving non‐operative management, 1340 (24·8 per cent) had recurrence of diverticulitis within 5 years (median 278 (i.q.r. 93·5–707) days to recurrence). Elective colectomy was associated with higher stoma rates (10·0 per cent, compared with 5·7 per cent for non‐operative observation, P < 0·001; odds ratio 1·88, 95 per cent c.i. 1·50 to 2·36), as well as more inpatient hospital days for diverticulitis‐related admissions (mean 8·0 versus 4·6 days respectively, P < 0·001; incidence rate ratio (IRR) 2·16, 95 per cent c.i. 1·89 to 2·47) and higher mean diverticulitis‐related cost (€70 107 versus €24 490, P < 0·001; IRR 3·11, 2·42 to 4·01).


Observation without elective colectomy following resolution of an initial diverticular abscess is a reasonable option with lower healthcare costs than operation.

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