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Diverticulitis in young versus elderly patients

This month's issue of the Scandanavian Journal of Gastroenterology compares diverticulitis in young with elderly patients.

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Dr Bryan van de Wall and colleagues from the Netherlands compared patients younger, and older than 50 years with diverticulitis with regard to complications, disease recurrence and to the need for surgery.

A literature review and meta-analysis was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines.

The team searched Embase and the Cochrane databases for longitudinal cohort studies comparing patients younger and older than 50 years with diverticulitis.

The team included 8 studies with a total of 4.751 patients younger, and 18.328 older than 50 years of age.

The team of doctors noted that the risk of developing at least one recurrent episode was significantly higher among patients younger than 50 years with an estimated cumulative risk of 30% compared with 17% in older patients.

The cumulative risk was 7% in younger patients
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology

The risk of requiring surgery during hospitalization for a primary episode of diverticulitis was equal in both age groups, and estimated at approximately 20%.

The researchers examined that patients younger than 50 years more frequently required urgent surgery during hospitalization for a subsequent recurrent episode.

The team found that the cumulative risk was 7% in younger patients, and 5% in patients older than 50 years.

Dr van de Wall's team commented, "Patients younger than 50 years only differ substantially in risk for recurrent disease from patients older than 50 years of age."

"Although the relative risk for requiring urgent surgery for recurrent disease was higher in younger patient, one should consider that the absolute risk difference is relatively small."

Scand J of Gastroenterol 2013:48(6) :643-651
20 June 2013

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