Diverticular Disease in the ElderlyComparato G.a · Pilotto A.b · Franzè A.c · Franceschi M.a, b · Di Mario F.a
aChair of Gastroenterology, University of Parma, Parma, bDepartment of Geriatrics, Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, San Giovanni Rotondo, and cGastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera, Parma, Italy
Prof. Francesco Di Mario
Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche, Sezione di Gastroenterologia
Università degli Studi di Parma
Via Gramsci 14, IT–43100 Parma (Italy)
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There are few diseases whose incidence varies as greatly worldwide as that of diverticulosis. Its prevalence is largely age-dependent: the disease is uncommon in those under the age of 40, the prevalence of which is estimated at approximately 5%; this increases to 65% in those ≧65 years of age. Of patients with diverticula, 80–85% remain asymptomatic, while, for unknown reasons, only three-fourths of the remaining 15–20% of patients develop symptomatic diverticular disease. Traditional concepts regarding the causes of colonic diverticula include alterations in colonic wall resistance, disordered colonic motility and dietary fiber deficiency. Currently, inflammation has been proposed to play a role in diverticular disease. Goals of therapy in diverticular disease should include improvement of symptoms and prevention of recurrent attacks in symptomatic, uncomplicated diverticular disease, and prevention of the complications of disease such as diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is the most usual clinical complication of diverticular disease, affecting 10–25% of patients with diverticula. Most patients admitted with acute diverticulitis respond to conservative treatment, but 15–30% require surgery. Predictive factors for severe diverticulitis are sex, obesity, immunodeficiency and old age. Surgery for acute complications of diverticular disease of the sigmoid colon carries significant rates of morbidity and mortality, the latter of which occurs predominantly in cases of severe comorbidity. Postoperative mortality and morbidity are to a large extent driven by patient-related factors.
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