Newswise — In the March issue of Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, surgeons from Birmingham, England, studied 5 years of National Health Service data of patients admitted for acute diverticulitis in an effort to identify factors associated with the need for elective or emergency surgery. The authors quote 2004 statistics citing that diverticular disease is responsible for over  300,000 annual hospital admissions and 1.5 million days of inpatient care at a cost of $ 2.6 billion!

The authors identified over 65,000 patients who had been hospitalized for acute diverticulitis between 2006 and 2011. Eleven percent of these patients underwent admission for recurrent acute diverticulitis.  Younger patients, women, smokers, obese individuals, and those who had diverticulitis with perforation and/or abscess were more likely to develop recurrent diverticulitis. The authors hope that such a study will help surgeons and other physicians discuss the need and timing of elective surgery with their patients. In addition, some risk factors such as smoking and obesity can be corrected by smoking cessation and weight reduction. This might, in turn, lower the patient’s risk for recurrent diverticulitis and need for surgery.

The authors state “Knowledge of the rates of recurrent acute diverticulitis helps guide this difficult doctor-patient discussion. Patients with modifiable risk factors such as smoking and obesity can be counseled because this may reduce the risk of recurrent acute diverticulitis.”

In the future, we may well see an increased participation by patients in their own healthcare, changing the trajectory of their own health by risk factor modification.

Citation: El-Sayed C, Radley S, Mytton J, Evison F, Ward ST. Risk of recurrent disease and surgery following an admission for acute diverticulitis. Dis Colon Rectum 2018;61(3):382-389.

A prepublication copy is available upon request. Please email Margaret Abby, Managing Editor, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, at [email protected]


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