Background: In recent years, the emergency management of acute left colonic diverticulitis (ALCD) has evolved dramatically despite lack of strong evidence. As a consequence, management strategies are frequently guided by surgeon’s personal preference, rather than by scientific evidence. The primary aim of IPOD study (Italian Prospective Observational Diverticulitis study) is to describe both the diagnostic and treatment profiles of patients with ALCD in the Italian surgical departments. Methods: IPOD study is a prospective observational study performed during a 6-month period (from April 1 2015 to September 1 2015) and including 89 Italian surgical departments. All consecutive patients with suspected clinical diagnosis of ALCD confirmed by imaging and seen by a surgeon were included in the study. The study was promoted by the Italian Society of Hospital Surgeons and the World Society of Emergency Surgery Italian chapter. Results: Eleven hundred and twenty-five patients with a median age of 62 years [interquartile range (IQR), 51–74] were enrolled in the IPOD study. One thousand and fifty-four (93.7%) patients were hospitalized with a median duration of hospitalization of 7 days (IQR 5–10). Eight hundred and twenty-eight patients (73.6%) underwent medical treatment alone, 13 patients had percutaneous drainage (1.2%), and the other 284 (25.2%) patients underwent surgery as first treatment. Among 121 patients having diffuse peritonitis, 71 (58.7%) underwent Hartmann’s resection. However, the Hartmann’s resection was used even in patients with lower stages of ALCD (36/479; 7.5%) where other treatment options could be more adequate. Conclusions: The IPOD study demonstrates that in the Italian surgical departments treatment strategies for ALCD are often guided by the surgeon’s personal preference.
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