Diverticulitis in the young is not more aggressive than in the elderly, but it tends to recur more often: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Lior H. Katz*, Daniel D. Guy, Adi Lahat, Anat Gafter-Gvili, Simon Bar-Meir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background and Aim: For years, the natural course of diverticulitis in the young has been debatable in terms of its severity and recurrence rate, and no consensus has been reached regarding its treatment and timing of surgery. Thus, the study aims to evaluate by meta-analysis the natural course of acute diverticulitis in the young. Methods: Data were obtained from electronic databases and manual search of studies comparing the course of diverticulitis in young versus elderly patients. The age cut-off was selected to be 40-50 years, and only studies using computed tomography as the sole modality for diagnosis were included. Primary outcomes were surgery during hospitalization and disease recurrence. Relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) are reported. Results: One thousand eighty publications were found, 12 of which were included. The total number of patients was 4982. Most young patients were males (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.31-2.21), without tendency toward a more complicated disease at admission (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.46-1.97). While there was no significant difference in the rate of surgery during hospitalization (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.46-1.06), young patients underwent more elective surgeries (RR 2.39, 95% CI 1.82-3.15). No mortality was recorded among young patients. The disease recurrence rate was significantly higher than that of elderly patients (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.31-2.21); however, no study specified the mean follow-up period for each group. Conclusions: The course of diverticulitis in the young is not more severe than that in elderly patients; however, the disease tends to recur more often. Therefore, while choosing a therapeutic regimen, factors other than age should also be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1281
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Diverticulitis
  • Natural history
  • Recurrence
  • Surgery
  • Young


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