Diagnosis and Management of Acute Left-Sided Colonic Diverticulitis: A Clinical Guideline From the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 2022 Mar;175(3):399-415. doi: 10.7326/M21-2710. Epub 2022 Jan 18.


Description: The American College of Physicians (ACP) developed this guideline to provide clinical recommendations on the diagnosis and management of acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis in adults. This guideline is based on current best available evidence about benefits and harms, taken in the context of costs and patient values and preferences.

Methods: The ACP Clinical Guidelines Committee (CGC) developed this guideline based on a systematic review on the use of computed tomography (CT) for the diagnosis of acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis and on management via hospitalization, antibiotic use, and interventional percutaneous abscess drainage. The systematic review evaluated outcomes that the CGC rated as critical or important. This guideline was developed using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology.

Target audience and patient population: The target audience is all clinicians, and the target patient population is adults with suspected or known acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis.

Recommendation 1: ACP suggests that clinicians use abdominal CT imaging when there is diagnostic uncertainty in a patient with suspected acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis (conditional recommendation; low-certainty evidence).

Recommendation 2: ACP suggests that clinicians manage most patients with acute uncomplicated left-sided colonic diverticulitis in an outpatient setting (conditional recommendation; low-certainty evidence).

Recommendation 3: ACP suggests that clinicians initially manage select patients with acute uncomplicated left-sided colonic diverticulitis without antibiotics (conditional recommendation; low-certainty evidence).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Diverticulitis, Colonic* / therapy
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physicians*
  • United States