Perforated diverticulitis managed by laparoscopic lavage

Craig J Taylor, Laurent Layani, Michael A Ghusn, Stephen I White
ANZ Journal of Surgery 2006, 76 (11): 962-5

BACKGROUND: Traditionally the management of acute diverticulitis complicated by perforation has been the Hartmann's procedure, which may be associated with significant morbidity and mortality and the unpleasantness of a colostomy. We present our early experience in managing perforated diverticulitis acutely by laparoscopic lavage and drainage.

METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of all patients with surgically confirmed perforated diverticulitis. Details concerning the nature of presentation, operative findings, postoperative course and medium-term progress were investigated.

RESULTS: Fourteen patients with a mean age of 57.2 years were identified over a 3-year period. All patients presented with peritonitis and systemic sepsis. Ten patients had extraluminal gas on preoperative imaging. Laparoscopic lavage and drainage, without resection or stoma, was the initial management in all cases. Sigmoid diverticulitis was confirmed in all cases, complicated by Hinchey grade 3 purulent peritonitis in 10 patients, grade 2 contamination in 2 patients and grade 4 faeculent peritonitis in 2 patients. Eleven patients (79%) improved and were discharged following a median of 6.5 days (range, 5-32 days). Three patients did not improve and underwent acute resection. Eight patients have subsequently undergone elective resection without a stoma at a mean interval of 6 weeks, which was carried out laparoscopically in all but one case.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic lavage and drainage in the acute management of perforated acute diverticulitis may be a promising alternative to more radical procedures, including the Hartmann's procedure. Acute resection should still be carried out in patients found to have faecal peritonitis or who fail to improve following lavage.

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