Emergency department presentation, admission, and surgical intervention for colonic diverticulitis in the United States

Am J Surg. 2015 Aug;210(2):404-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.12.050. Epub 2015 Apr 30.


Background: Diverticulitis in admitted inpatients is well reported. This study examined colonic diverticulitis treated in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: The 2010 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample was used to examine relationships among patient age and inpatient admission, surgical intervention, and in-hospital mortality among ED patients with a primary diagnosis of diverticulitis.

Results: Of 310,983 ED visits for primary diverticulitis, 53% resulted in hospitalization and 6% in surgical intervention. Most patients 65+ years old were female (69%), and most were hospitalized (63%). Seven percent of ED patients aged 65+ underwent surgery and .96% died in hospital. Patients aged less than 40 years (13% of all admissions) were mostly male (63%), 42% were hospitalized, 4% underwent surgery, and less than .01% died. Compared with patients aged less than 40 years, those 65+ demonstrated greater odds of admission (odds ratio 1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.43 to 1.64) and surgical intervention (odds ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.27 to 1.65).

Conclusions: Half of ED patients were hospitalized and 6% of ED visits resulted in colectomy. Fully 13% of ED patients were less than 40 years old. Future studies examining outpatient services may further illuminate the epidemiology of diverticulitis.

Keywords: Diverticulitis; Emergency department; Surgical intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / surgery*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Treatment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States