Is there need for routine CT colonography after CT-verified uncomplicated diverticulitis of the sigmoid colon?

Eur J Radiol Open. 2021 Mar 31;8:100341. doi: 10.1016/j.ejro.2021.100341. eCollection 2021.

Abstract

Background: Following an episode of acute diverticulitis, surgical guidelines commonly advise routine colonic follow-up to rule out underlying malignancy. However, as a CT of the abdomen is frequently performed during clinical work-up, the routine need for colonic follow-up has become debated.

Purpose: To evaluate the need for routine CT colonography after an episode of CT-verified uncomplicated sigmoid diverticulitis to rule out underlying colorectal malignancy.

Material and methods: This study retrospectively evaluated 312 patients routinely referred to colonic evaluation by CT colonography following an episode of acute diverticulitis. Patients were excluded if lacking diagnostic CT of the abdomen at time of diagnosis, if presenting with atypical colonic involvement, or if CT findings were suggestive of complicated disease (e.g., abscess or perforation). CT colonography exams were routinely reviewed by experienced abdominal radiology consultants on the day of the procedure. If significant polyps were detected, or if colorectal malignancy could not be excluded, patients were referred to same-day optical colonoscopy. For these patients, medical records were reviewed for optical colonoscopy results and histology reports if applicable.

Results: Among 223 patients with CT-verified uncomplicated sigmoid diverticulitis, no patients were found to have underlying colorectal malignancy. 27 patients were referred to optical colonoscopy based on CT colonography findings. 18 patients consequently underwent polypectomy, all with either hyperplastic or adenomatous histology.

Conclusions: This study indicates that routine colonic evaluation by CT colonography following an episode of CT-verified uncomplicated sigmoid diverticulitis may be unwarranted, and should arguably be reserved for patients with protracted or atypical clinical course.

Keywords: CT colonography; Colorectal cancer; Diverticulitis.