Multi-slice spiral CT in routine diagnosis of suspected acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis: a prospective study of 120 patients

Eur Radiol. 2003 Dec;13(12):2596-603. doi: 10.1007/s00330-003-1887-7. Epub 2003 May 10.


This prospective study evaluated the use of multi-slice CT (MSCT) for detection of clinically suspected left-sided colonic diverticulitis with regard to diagnosis, complications and alternative diagnoses. One hundred twenty patients with clinically suspected acute left-colonic diverticulitis underwent MSCT of the lower abdomen with IV contrast after rectal application of iodic contrast. The MSCT results were compared with histopathological and intraoperative findings or other radiological or endoscopic methods and clinical outcome. Acute diverticulitis was proven in 67 of the 120 (55.8%) patients, which was detected by MSCT with an accuracy of 98% (sensitivity 97%, specificity 98%). Contained perforation or abscess formation were detected with an accuracy of 96% (sensitivity 100%, specificity 91%) and 98% (sensitivity 100%, specificity 97%), respectively. In 31 of 120 (25.8%) patients diagnoses other than diverticulitis caused abdominal pain, which was correctly diagnosed by MSCT in 71%. The MSCT as well as other concurrently performed diagnostic methods showed normal findings and no causes for the patients symptoms in 22 of the 120 (18.4%) patients. Multi-slice CT is reliable in detecting diverticulitis, including extracolic complications, and often reveals other diagnoses; therefore, MSCT is recommended as standard diagnostic procedure in suspected acute diverticulitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / pathology
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed