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Outpatient treatment of uncomplicated diverticulitis: a systematic review

Sánchez-Velázquez, Patricia; Grande, Luis; Pera, Miguel

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: June 2016 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 622–627
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000610
Review Articles

Acute diverticulitis occurs in up to 25% of patients with diverticulosis. The majority of cases are mild or uncomplicated and it has become a frequent reason for consultation in the emergency department. On the basis of the National Inpatient Sample database from the USA, 86% of patients admitted with diverticulitis were treated with medical therapy. However, several recent studies have shown that outpatient treatment with antibiotics is safe and effective. The aim of this systematic review is to update the evidence published in the outpatient treatment of uncomplicated acute diverticulitis. We performed a systematic review according to the PRISMA guidelines and searched in MEDLINE and Cochrane databases all English-language articles on the management of acute diverticulitis using the following search terms: ‘diverticulitis’, ‘outpatient’, and ‘uncomplicated’. Data were extracted independently by two investigators. A total of 11 articles for full review were yielded: one randomized controlled trial, eight prospective cohort studies, and two retrospective cohort studies. Treatment successful rate on an outpatient basis, which means that no further complications were reported, ranged from 91.5 to 100%. Fewer than 8% of patients were readmitted in the hospital. Intolerance to oral intake and lack of family or social support are common exclusion criteria used for this approach, whereas severe comorbidities are not definitive exclusion criteria in all the studies. Ambulatory treatment of uncomplicated acute diverticulitis is safe, effective, and economically efficient when applying an appropriate selection in most reviewed studies.

aDepartment of Surgery, Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Hospital del Mar

bColorectal Cancer Research Group, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence to Patricia Sánchez-Velázquez, MD, Department of Surgery, Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Hospital del Mar, Passeig Marítim 25-29, 08003 Barcelona, Spain Tel: +34 932 483 207; fax: +34 932 483 433; e-mail:

Received November 17, 2015

Accepted January 14, 2016

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