Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the presentation of diverticulitis at an urban county hospital serving predominantly indigent patients and to analyze the differences, if any, in presentation and treatment in younger patients. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records from 1995 to 2001 was performed at a single institution to identify patients admitted to the surgical service with the diagnosis of diverticular disease. Inclusion criteria were either diverticulitis confirmed at operation or radiographic findings consistent with the disease. Patient demographics, history, pertinent physical findings, and treatment were recorded. The data were analyzed after dividing the patients into two populations: a younger population 50 years of age or less, and a second population of patients older than 50. Results: During the interval, a total of 64 patients were admitted to the surgical service with the diagnosis of diverticulitis. The mean age of this population was 45.5 years (range 21 to 86). Forty-six patients were under 50 years of age (72%). Analysis of sex differences, type and timing of surgical procedure, and complication rate with respect to age showed no significant difference between the two age groups. Conclusions: We are clearly treating a younger patient population than previous reports on patients with diverticulitis. Although there was a trend toward increased surgical intervention in the younger population, this number did not reach statistical significance. Diverticulitis in young patients at our institution does not appear to take a more aggressive course than the same disease in older patients.
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