To prospectively study the incidence and the natural history of acute diverticulitis in young patients.
A total of 207 patients hospitalized at our hospital between January 2000 to February 2005 with the diagnosis of acute diverticulitis were included. Their demographic characteristics, medical history, physical, radiographic and endoscopic findings as well as therapy were recorded. Patients were followed every 6 mo for the first year and later annually.
The mean patients' age was 61 (range 27-92) years. Twenty-five patients (12%) were younger than 45 years. Acute diverticulitis was significantly more prevalent among male in the young age group as compared to the older age group (19/25, 76% vs 61/182, 33%, respectively, P = 0.0001). Complications occurred more often in the young age group; 32% vs 13%, (P = 0.002). During follow-up, 6 patients (28%) remained asymptomatic in the young age group as compared to 87 patients (55%) in the older age group (P = 0.024). As a result, sigmoidectomies were performed twice as often in the young age group (38% vs 13%, P = 0.002).
Diverticulitis in young patients has a male predominance, a more aggressive course with a higher rate of complications and a higher recurrence rate. An earlier surgical approach might be considered in young patients with acute diverticulitis.
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