2016-02-29 22:12:52 UTC

A Deep Look at Colonic Diverticula

March 2, 2016

CGH research finds that 42 percent of patients have one or more diverticula, among other important insights.

Colonic diverticula are the most common finding from colonoscopy examinations. A new Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (CGH) article in press sheds light on the distribution of colonic diverticula, which are responsible for symptomatic and costly diverticular disease.

The research team, led by Anne F. Peery, MD, MSCR, looked at patients undergoing screening colonoscopy at the University of North Carolina Hospital, Chapel Hill, from 2013 through 2015, and they found that 42 percent of patients had one or more diverticula. Participants with diverticula were more likely to be older, male and have a higher body mass index than those without diverticula.

Older individuals not only have a higher prevalence of diverticula than younger individuals, but also a greater density, indicating that this is a progressive disease.

The distribution of diverticula differed significantly by race. Blacks have a greater percentage of their diverticula in the proximal colon and fewer in the distal colon compared with whites. The below chart outlines this distribution.

Location of Diverticula Whites Blacks
Sigmoid colon 75% 64%
Descending colon or splenic flexure 11% 8%
Transverse colon 6% 7%
Ascending colon or hepatic flexure 8% 20%

Understanding the distribution and determinants of diverticula is the first step in preventing diverticulosis and its complications. Learn more in the full CGH study (login required).

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