Emergency Surgery for Diverticulitis: Relationship of Outcomes to Patient Age and Surgical Procedure



      To compare outcomes in emergent surgical treatment of acute diverticulitis in the older population.


      Retrospective multi-institute database cohort analysis.

      Settings and Participants

      American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (ACS NSQIP) and NSQIP Colectomy Targeted Database.


      The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project Colectomy Targeted Database was merged with the main participate use file to identify adult patients undergoing emergent Hartmann procedure or primary anastomosis with diverting loop ileostomy for acute diverticulitis. Patients were subdivided into age cohorts (<65 years, 65-79 years, ≥80 years) and primary postoperative outcomes including mortality, morbidity, and readmission were compared using multivariate regression.


      A total of 6091 patients were identified. On multivariate analysis, 30-day mortality was higher in patients undergoing a Hartmann procedure aged 65-79 years [odds ratio (OR) 2.39, P < .001] and ≥80 years (OR 6.28, P < .001) compared to patients aged <65 years. In patients undergoing a primary anastomosis with diverting loop ileostomy, 30-day morbidity was lower only in the cohort aged ≥80 years (OR 2.63, P = .04). Readmission rates were similar across age groups within each procedure cohort. Comparing the 2 procedures, readmission rates in patients aged 65-79 years who underwent a Hartmann procedure were lower than those that underwent a primary anastomosis with diverting loop ileostomy (OR 2.43, P = .001). In patients aged ≥80 years, readmission rates were lower in patients who underwent a primary anastomosis with diverting loop ileostomy (OR 0.12, P = .04). Thirty-day mortality was also lower in patients aged ≥80 years if they underwent a primary anastomosis with diverting loop ileostomy (OR 0.15, P = .03) but similar for patients aged 65-79 years (OR 0.81, P = .70).

      Conclusion and Implications

      In patients undergoing a Hartmann procedure emergently for diverticulitis, mortality is higher in older patients. Patients aged 80 years had increased mortality if they underwent a Hartmann procedure compared to a primary anastomosis with diverting ileostomy; however, readmission rates vary with procedure performed. Careful consideration of age should be taken into account when operating emergently for diverticulitis.


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