Acute colonic diverticulitis is a common clinical condition. Severity of the disease is based on clinical, laboratory, and radiological investigations and dictates the need for medical or surgical intervention. Recent clinical trials have improved the understanding of the natural history of the disease resulting in new approaches to and better evidence for the management of acute diverticulitis.
We searched the Cochrane Library (years 2004–2015), MEDLINE (years 2004–2015), and EMBASE (years 2004–2015) databases. We used the search terms “diverticulitis, colonic” or “acute diverticulitis” or “divertic*” in combination with the terms “management,” “antibiotics,” “non-operative,” or “surgery.” Registers for clinical trials (such as the WHO registry and the https://clinicaltrials.gov/) were searched for ongoing, recruiting, or closed trials not yet published.
Antibiotic treatment can be avoided in simple, non-complicated diverticulitis and outpatient management is safe. The management of complicated disease, ranging from a localized abscess to perforation with diffuse peritonitis, has changed towards either percutaneous or minimally invasive approaches in selected cases. The role of laparoscopic lavage without resection in perforated non-fecal diverticulitis is still debated; however, recent evidence from two randomised controlled trials has found a higher re-intervention in this group of patients.
A shift in management has occurred towards conservative management in acute uncomplicated disease. Those with uncomplicated acute diverticulitis may be treated without antibiotics. For complicated diverticulitis with purulent peritonitis, the use of peritoneal lavage appears to be non-superior to resection.
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KS and MB planned the review. All authors (MB, DH, GV, KS) drafted sections and performed literature searches. All authors contributed to several revisions of the manuscript sections towards the final version and approved the submitted manuscript.
DJH is funded by a National Institute for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship.
Conflict of interest
MB has received grants for diverticulitis research from the Dutch Health Care and Efficacy Research (ZonMW), the Dutch Digestive Diseases Foundation (MLDS), and non-diverticulitis-related grants from Baxter, Abbott, Ipsen, LifeCell/Acelity, and GSK. She has spoken at a Dr Falk Pharmaceuticals Symposium as an invited speaker on diverticulitis. DH has received research funding from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Research into Ageing, and the BUPA foundation for research on diverticular disease. He has spoken at a Dr Falk Pharmaceuticals Symposium as an invited speaker on diverticular disease. GV none. KS none.
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Boermeester, M.A., Humes, D.J., Velmahos, G.C. et al. Contemporary Review of Risk-Stratified Management in Acute Uncomplicated and Complicated Diverticulitis. World J Surg 40, 2537–2545 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00268-016-3560-8