Background: The vast majority of people with diverticula remain asymptomatic or develop minor symptoms while a small group develop serious complications that are associated with significant morbidity and mortality rates. The aim was to identify any risk factors predisposing to complications.
Methods: Eighty patients with diverticular disease were studied. Patients in group 1 (n = 45) with complications requiring hospitalization or surgery were compared with those in group 2 (n = 35) with asymptomatic diverticula or minor symptoms. Logistic regression analysis was performed.
Results: No differences in epidemiological factors, concurrent and past medical and surgical conditions or chronic medication were detected between the two groups. Generalized disease was not associated with more complications than sigmoid disease. However, smoking seemed to be an independent factor predisposing to complications; the proportion of smokers in group 1 was significantly greater (24 of 45) than that in group 2 (ten of 35) (odds ratio 2.9, P = 0.028).
Conclusion: In patients with diverticular disease, smoking is associated with an increased risk of complications.