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Original Article
March 2011March 21, 2011

Cyclical Increase in Diverticulitis During the Summer Months

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts (Drs Ricciardi, Roberts, Read, Marcello, Hall, and Schoetz); Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Dr Foley).

Arch Surg. 2011;146(3):319-323. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2011.27

Objective  We hypothesized that the rate of nonelective hospital admissions for diverticulitis conforms to seasonal variation.

Design  Retrospective cohort analysis.

Setting  Patients admitted to hospitals in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a 20% sample of US community hospitals.

Patients  We identified patients with a nonelective admission or discharge for diverticulitis from January 1, 1997, through December 31, 2005, and determined the proportion of diverticulitis admissions (standardized to all inpatient admissions) for a particular admission month or discharge quarter. Next, we analyzed the potential effects of region, age, sex, and race on excess seasonal admissions for diverticulitis.

Results  On average, total nonelective admissions for diverticulitis were lowest in February (23 744 admissions) and highest in August (29 733 admissions), a 25.2% increase in cases. Similarly, diverticulitis discharges increased by 14.3% during the third quarter compared with the first (P < .001). A significant seasonal pattern of diverticulitis admissions was identified that conformed to a major sinusoidal component (P < .001). The excess seasonal burden of nonelective diverticulitis admissions in the third quarter was noted across US census regions, age, sex, and race.

Conclusions  Hospitalization for diverticulitis adheres to a sinusoidal pattern, with more nonelective admissions occurring during the summer months. The excess summer burden of diverticulitis is noted across US census regions, age, sex, and race. A more thorough understanding of these trends may provide a mechanism to identify a potential trigger for diverticulitis.