Purpose: The timing of elective surgery in acute sigmoid diverticulitis in relation to the acute attack is not clear. Early elective surgery during the same hospitalization as the acute attack or delayed surgery after an interval of several weeks are the options. This study was designed to evaluate the influence of timing on morbidity, conversion rate, histologic findings, and costs.
Methods: A total of 178 patients with elective laparoscopic-assisted sigmoid resections for diverticulitis between 1997 and 2005 were retrospectively assessed; 77 patients underwent early and 101 delayed surgery. Outcomes were surgical morbidity, conversion rate, histologic findings, and financial impact of timing.
Results: The two groups showed no significant difference apart from a higher body mass index in the delayed group (25.5 vs. 26.6 kg/m2, P = 0.035). Surgical morbidity was not significantly different. Conversion rate was significantly higher in the early group (P < 0.001). Converted patients had an increased surgical morbidity of 23.8 vs. 19.1 percent (P = 0.323) and hospitalization was significantly longer (13.5 vs. 10.5 days; P < 0.001). Histology revealed inflammation in 75.3 percent in the early group compared with 23.8 percent in the delayed group. Total treatment costs were not different between groups, whereas total earnings were higher in the delayed group resulting in a lower hospital deficit.
Conclusions: Early elective surgery in patients with acute sigmoid diverticulitis results in a higher conversion rate. If patients respond to initial antibiotic therapy, delayed colectomy after an interval of six weeks or more is recommended.
(C) The ASCRS 2007