[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Views 1,172
Citations 0
Original Investigation
May 13, 2020

Risk of Emergency Surgery or Death After Initial Nonoperative Management of Complicated Diverticulitis in Scotland and Switzerland

Author Affiliations
  • 1Clarunis, Department of Visceral Surgery, University Centre for Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, St. Clara Hospital and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2Academic Coloproctology, University of Edinburgh/Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 3Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Clinical Research, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
JAMA Surg. Published online May 13, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.0757
Key Points

Question  Is interval resection after successful inpatient nonoperative management of complicated diverticulitis associated with the rate of disease-specific emergency surgery or death in 2 contrasting health care systems?

Findings  In this secondary cohort analysis, 3280 of 13 861 patients (24%) in Switzerland and 231 of 5129 patients (5%) in Scotland with complicated diverticulitis managed nonoperatively underwent an interval colon resection. Despite this 5-fold difference, the rate of emergency surgery or death was 5% in both countries.

Meaning  High rates of interval resection were not associated with reduced rates of emergency surgery or death after nonoperatively managed complicated diverticulitis.


Importance  National guidelines on interval resection for prevention of recurrence after complicated diverticulitis are inconsistent. Although US and German guidelines favor interval colonic resection to prevent a perceived high risk of recurrence, UK guidelines do not.

Objectives  To investigate patient management and outcomes after an index inpatient episode of nonoperatively managed complicated diverticulitis in Switzerland and Scotland and determine whether interval resection was associated with the rate of disease-specific emergency surgery or death in either country.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This secondary analysis of anonymized complete national inpatient data sets included all patients with an inpatient episode of successfully nonoperatively managed complicated diverticulitis in Switzerland and Scotland from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2015. The 2 countries have contrasting health care systems: Switzerland is insurance funded, while Scotland is state funded. Statistical analysis was conducted from February 1, 2018, to October 17, 2019.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary end point defined a priori before the analysis was adverse outcome, defined as any disease-specific emergency surgical intervention or inpatient death after the initial successful nonsurgical inpatient management of an episode of complicated diverticulitis, including complications from interval elective surgery.

Results  The study cohort comprised 13 861 inpatients in Switzerland (6967 women) and 5129 inpatients in Scotland (2804 women) with an index episode of complicated acute diverticulitis managed nonoperatively. The primary end point was observed in 698 Swiss patients (5.0%) and 255 Scottish patients (5.0%) (odds ratio, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.81-1.19). Elective interval colonic resection was undertaken in 3280 Swiss patients (23.7%; median follow-up, 53 months [interquartile range, 24-90 months]) and 231 Scottish patients (4.5%; median follow-up, 57 months [interquartile range, 27-91 months]). Death after urgent readmission for recurrent diverticulitis occurred in 104 patients (0.8%) in Switzerland and 65 patients (1.3%) in Scotland. None of the investigated confounders had a significant association with the outcome apart from comorbidity.

Conclusions and Relevance  This study found no difference in the rate of adverse outcome (emergency surgery and/or inpatient death) despite a 5-fold difference in interval resection rates.

Limit 200 characters
Limit 25 characters
Conflicts of Interest Disclosure

Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.

Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.

Err on the side of full disclosure.

If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.

Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.

Limit 140 characters
Limit 3600 characters or approximately 600 words