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Antibiotics in Uncomplicated Acute Diverticulitis: To Give or Not to Give?

Acute uncomplicated diverticulitis (AUD) is generally felt to be caused by obstruction and inflammation of a colonic diverticulum and occurs in about 4-5% of patients with diverticulosis. The cornerstone of AUD treatment has conventionally been antibiotic therapy, but with a paradigm shift in the underlying pathogenesis of the disease from bacterial infection to more of an inflammatory process, as well as concerns about antibiotic overuse, this dogma has recently been questioned. We will review emerging data that supports more selective antibiotic use in this population, as well as newer guidelines that advocate this position as well. While there are no discrete algorithms to guide us, we will attempt to suggest clinical scenarios where antibiotics may reasonably be withheld.

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