Systematic review of evidence and consensus on diverticulitis: an analysis of national and international guidelines

Colorectal Dis. 2014 Nov;16(11):866-78. doi: 10.1111/codi.12659.


Aim: The study aimed to analyse the currently available national and international guidelines for areas of consensus and contrasting recommendations in the treatment of diverticulitis and thereby to design questions for future research.

Method: MEDLINE, EMBASE and PubMed were systematically searched for guidelines on diverticular disease and diverticulitis. Inclusion was confined to papers in English and those < 10 years old. The included topics were classified as consensus or controversy between guidelines, and the highest level of evidence was scored as sufficient (Oxford Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine Level of Evidence of 3a or higher) or insufficient.

Results: Six guidelines were included and all topics with recommendations were compared. Overall, in 13 topics consensus was reached and 10 topics were regarded as controversial. In five topics, consensus was reached without sufficient evidence and in three topics there was no evidence and no consensus. Clinical staging, the need for intraluminal imaging, dietary restriction, duration of antibiotic treatment, the protocol for abscess treatment, the need for elective surgery in subgroups of patients, the need for surgery after abscess treatment and the level of the proximal resection margin all lack consensus or evidence.

Conclusion: Evidence on the diagnosis and treatment of diverticular disease and diverticulitis ranged from nonexistent to strong, regardless of consensus. The most relevant research questions were identified and proposed as topics for future research.

Keywords: Diverticulitis; consensus; diverticular disease; guideline; review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Consensus
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / diagnosis
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / etiology
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors