Diverticulitis: does age matter?

Nir Horesh*, Chaya Shwaartz, Imri Amiel, Avinoam Nevler, Esther Shabtai, Alexander Lebedeyev, Roi Nadler, Danny Rosin, Mordechai Gutman, Oded Zmora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Acute diverticulitis has been traditionally associated with worse outcome in young patients, indicating a more aggressive surgical approach is required for them. The aim of this study was to assess whether acute diverticulitis was more virulent in young patients. Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study included all patients who were admitted for a first episode of acute diverticulitis between January 2004 and December 2013. The patients were divided into two groups (≤50 years and >50 years) based on their age. Patients' characteristics, clinical and surgical data were recorded and analyzed. Results: Overall, 636 patients were included in the database, including 177 (27.8%) in the younger group and 459 in the elder group. There were no significant differences between the groups in disease complexity, peritonitis, laboratory work-up, vital signs on presentation, bowel obstruction or the presence of fistula and abscess in need of drainage. Younger patients had more free extra-luminal air on computed tomography (CT) scan (P = 0.03). Surgical data, including the intra-operative modified Hinchey score and the need for emergency and additional surgery did not significantly differ between the two groups. Young patients had more readmissions (P = 0.01) due to acute diverticulitis, diverticular complications and elective surgery. Length of hospital stay (P = 0.0001) was longer and postoperative complications were more common in the elder patients. Conclusions: The clinical presentation of acute diverticulitis does not seem to be worse in the young population. Younger patients tend to have a more severe presentation on CT scan and more readmissions, but this did not translate to a more severe disease course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Digestive Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • age groups
  • colorectal surgery
  • complications
  • diverticulitis
  • epidemiology


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