How Would You Manage This Patient With Recurrent Diverticulitis?

Annals Beyond the Guidelines

Acute diverticulitis, which refers to inflammation or infection, or both, of a colonic diverticulum, is a common medical condition that may occur repeatedly in some persons. It most often manifests with left-sided abdominal pain, which may be associated with low-grade fever and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Complications may include abscess, fistula formation, perforation, and bowel obstruction. The American College of Physicians recently published practice guidelines on the diagnosis and management of acute diverticulitis, the role of colonoscopy after resolution, and interventions to prevent recurrence of this condition. Among the recommendations were the use of abdominal computed tomography (CT) scanning in cases where there was diagnostic uncertainty, initial management of uncomplicated cases in the outpatient setting without antibiotics, referral for colonoscopy after an initial episode if not performed recently, and discussion of elective surgery to prevent recurrent disease in patients with complicated diverticulitis or frequent episodes of uncomplicated disease. Here, 2 gastroenterologists with expertise in acute diverticulitis debate CT scanning for diagnosis, antibiotics for treatment, colonoscopy to screen for underlying malignancy, and elective surgery to prevent recurrent disease.


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Annals Beyond the Guidelines

From Annals of Internal Medicine (, Beyond the Guidelines is an educational feature based on recent guidelines. Each considers a patient (or patients) who "falls between the cracks" of available evidence and for whom the optimal clinical course in unclear. Presented at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Grand Rounds, each conference reviews the background evidence and experts then discuss the patient(s) and field audience questions. Videos of the interviews and conference, the slide presentation, and a CME/MOC activity accompany each module.