The clinical significance of extraluminal air in Hinchey 1a diverticulitis: results from a retrospective cohort study with 10-year follow-up

  • Jeremy MeyerEmail author
  • Anna Caruso
  • Elin Roos
  • Alexandre Balaphas
  • Christian Toso
  • Pierre-Alexandre Poletti
  • Frédéric Ris
  • Nicolas C. Buchs
Original Article



Some patients with uncomplicated diverticulitis have extraluminal air. Our objective was to determine if patients with Hinchey 1a diverticulitis and isolated extraluminal air present more severe episode than patients without extraluminal air.


The present study is a monocentric observational retrospective cohort study. Computed tomographies of patients with diagnosed uncomplicated diverticulitis were retrospectively reviewed from the 01 January 2005 to the 31 December 2009. The presence of extraluminal air was determined. Leukocyte count, CRP value, and length of hospitalization were extracted from the patients’ files. The follow-up period was from the time of diagnosis to the 15th of March 2019, the latest. Follow-up was censored for death and sigmoidectomy. Recurrence and emergency sigmoidectomy were documented during the follow-up period. The study was performed according to the STROBE guideline.


Three hundred and one patients with an episode of Hinchey 1a diverticulitis were included. Extraluminal air was present in 56 patients (18.60%). Leukocyte count (12.4 ± 4.1(G/l) versus 10.7 ± 3.5(G/l), p = 0.05), CRP value (156.9 ± 95.1(mg/l) versus 89.9 ± 74.8(mg/l), p < 0.001), and length of hospital stay (10.9 ± 5.5(days) versus 8.4 ± 3.6(days), p < 0.001) were significantly higher in patients with extraluminal air than in patients without extraluminal air. Seventy-two patients (23.92%) presented a recurrence during the follow-up period. Survival estimates did not differ between patients with or without extraluminal air (p = 0.717). Eleven patients (3.65%) required emergency surgery during the follow-up period. Patients with extraluminal air had shorter emergency surgery-free survival than patients without extraluminal air (p < 0.05).


The presence of extraluminal air in Hinchey 1a diverticulitis indicates a more severe episode, with higher inflammation parameters at admission, longer length of stay, and an increased risk for emergency sigmoidectomy.


Diverticulitis Classification Extraluminal air Free air 


Authors’ contribution

JM, NCB, and PAP conceived and designed the study. JM and AC acquired the data. JM and ER analyzed the data. JM, AC, ER, AB, CT, PAP, FR, and NCB interpreted the data. JM, AC, ER, AB, CT, PAP, FR, and NCB contributed to the writing of the manuscript and to its critical revision. JM, AC, ER, AB, CT, PAP, FR, and NCB approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

384_2019_3424_MOESM1_ESM.doc (80 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 79 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Digestive SurgeryUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenève 14Switzerland
  2. 2.Division of RadiologyUniversity Hospitals of GenevaGenève 14Switzerland
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesStockholmSweden

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