Objective: Admission of patients with acute complications of diverticular disease is frequent and operative management remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of resection, intra-operative colonic lavage and primary anastomosis in patients who require urgent laparotomy to treat complications of diverticular disease.
Patients and methods: From January 1992 to December 1999, 124 surgical patients underwent emergency operation for complicated diverticular disease. Resection, intra-operative colonic lavage and primary anastomosis were carried out in 55 patients: four with obstruction, two with massive bleeding and 49 with diverticulitis. In the diverticulitis group, 33 (67.3%) patients presented with localized peritonitis and 16 (32.7%) with generalized purulent peritonitis. No patient with faecal peritonitis was treated by a one-stage procedure.
Results: One or more complications were detected in 25 patients (45.4%). Four patients (7.2%) required reintervention. Mortality occurred in four patients (7.2%). Two patients (3.6%) presented with anastomotic leakage. Wound infection was detected in 16 cases (29%). The overall mean (s.d.) Hospital stay was 18.5 (12.1) days.
Conclusion: Resection, intra-operative colonic lavage and primary anastomosis provide an alternative procedure for achieving one-stage resection in selected patients who require emergency operation for complication of diverticular disease.