The classic teaching for the treatment of diverticulitis includes:
- Hospital admission
- Bowel rest (NPO)
- IV fluids
- Broad spectrum IV antibiotics
Do ALL patients need to be admitted? There is some early literature suggesting that there is a small sub-population who fare well with outpatient treatment.
This article from Annals of EM in the “Best Available Evidence” series summarizes the existing literature well. Plus, I was one of the journal reviewers for the article and am thrilled to see this coming out in print finally.
PV Card: Diverticulitis
Adapted from 1
Go to the ALiEM Cards site for more resources.
Word of caution
This paper only provides guidelines, based on the limited evidence out there. Still use your common sense. For instance, I’d still admit patients who are elderly (>80 years old) or have evidence of any perforation on CT. If on the fence, admit the patient.
Still it’s nice to see that the treatment of uncomplicated diverticulitis on an outpatient basis has some supporting literature.