Surgery After an Initial Episode of Uncomplicated Diverticulitis: Does Time to Resection Matter?

J Surg Res. 2019 Feb:234:224-230. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2018.09.043. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Background: The aim of this study was to determine whether time to surgery after an initial episode of uncomplicated diverticulitis is associated with undergoing an emergent versus an elective resection.

Methods: In this retrospective, administrative claims database study, we identified patients at least 18 y old in the 2005-2011 California State Inpatient Database who had an initial episode of uncomplicated diverticulitis and then underwent a bowel resection within 2 y. After characterizing the distribution in time to surgery among all patients, we used a multivariable logistic regression to determine whether time to surgery was associated with undergoing an emergent resection. Next, we assessed differences in three outcomes between elective and emergent resections: at least one of eight postoperative complications, extended length of stay (defined as the top decile of hospitalizations), and 30-d inpatient readmissions. Analyses adjusted for time between initial hospitalization and resection, number of inpatient hospitalizations for diverticulitis before the resection, clinical factors, and hospital clustering.

Results: We identified 4478 patients with an initial episode of uncomplicated diverticulitis followed by a bowel resection within the subsequent 2 y. One-fifth (21.1%) underwent an emergent resection. The median time from the initial episode to resection was 3.8 mo (IQR: 2.3-8.1 mo) for elective resections and 5.1 mo (IQR: 2.3-12.4 mo) for emergent resections. The adjusted odds of undergoing an emergent relative to an elective resection increased by 7% (aOR 1.07 [1.02-1.11]) for every 3 passing mo. Emergent resections were associated with greater adjusted odds of complications (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.75 [95%-CI 1.43-2.15]), extended LOS (aOR 4.52 [3.31-6.17]), and 30-d readmissions (aOR 1.49 [1.09-2.04]).

Conclusions: Among patients who experienced an initial episode of uncomplicated diverticulitis and eventually underwent a resection, the odds of having an emergent relative to elective surgery increased with every 3 passing mo. These findings may inform the management of uncomplicated diverticulitis for high-risk patients eventually needing surgery.

Keywords: 30-Day readmissions; Complications; Diverticulitis; Emergent resections; Length of stay; Time to surgery.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / complications
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / diagnosis
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic / surgery*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures*
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult