Background: This prospective study was done to compare acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis in young patients (50 years of age or less) and older patients (more than 50 years of age) for severity of disease and immediate and late outcome.
Study design: Of the 265 patients studied, 61 were 50 years of age or less; of these, 49 were men. In all instances, diagnosis was confirmed radiologically or histologically.
Results: Operations were performed less often upon younger patients than older patients (15 versus 33 percent, p = 0.001). Severe diverticulitis was found more often in younger men than older men (39 versus 23 percent). After successful conservative treatment during the first hospitalization period, younger men had a statistically greater risk of poor outcome than older men (29 versus 5 percent, p = 0.003).
Conclusions: Although younger men have severe acute diverticulitis more often than older men, operative treatment during the first episode is less often needed. On the other hand, after conservative treatment, younger men have a statistically greater chance of poor secondary outcome than older men.