Overview on the management of diverticular disease by Italian General Practitioners

Dig Liver Dis. 2019 Jan;51(1):63-67. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2018.07.015. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


Background: Although very common in Western countries, poor epidemiological data on diverticular disease (DD) is available from the family practice.

Aims: To evaluate the behavior of Italian General Practitioners (GPs) on approaching DD.

Methods: Health Search Database was analyzed retrospectively.

Results: On a population of 975,523 individuals, 33,597 patients had a registered diagnosis of DD ("lifetime" prevalence = 3.4%, M = 3.2%, F = 3.7%; higher values are found in females over-65 years old; low rates of complications: diverticulitis = 0.3%, bleeding = 0.002%). As risk factors, NSAIDs and ASA were taken by 14.8% and 26.5% respectively, opioids by 7.5%, corticosteroids by 5.2%; as protective factors, 30.4% were under statins and 17.7% under calcium-antagonists. Approximately 13% of patients were referred to specialists. Colonoscopy and abdominal CT were prescribed to 48.5% and to 13% of already diagnosed patients. Among DD sufferers, 27% experienced hospitalization, but only 3.4% of cases were for a DD-linked problem. Treatment included rifaximin (61%), mesalazine (14.7%), probiotics (12.4%), ciprofloxacin (7.6%).

Conclusion: DD has a large impact in general practice with a higher prevalence in the elderly. GPs are required to pay particular attention to risk factors both for disease development and for its complications in order to reduce the costs deriving from diagnostic procedures, referral and hospitalization.

Keywords: Diverticulosis; Family medicine; Mesalazine; Rifaximin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic* / classification
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic* / drug therapy
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • General Practice / methods*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Gastrointestinal Agents