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Oral versus intravenous antibiotics in the treatment of uncomplicated colonic diverticulitis: results of a randomized non-inferiority control trial.

ANZ Journal of Surgery 2023 November 15
BACKGROUND: Colonic diverticular disease is common and its incidence increases with age, with uncomplicated diverticulitis being the most common acute presentation (1). This typically results in inpatient admission, placing a significant burden on healthcare services (2). We aimed to determine the safety and effectiveness of using intravenous or oral antibiotics in the treatment of uncomplicated diverticulitis on 30-day unplanned admissions, c-reactive protein (CRP), White Cell Count (WCC), pain resolution, cessation of pain medication, return to normal nutrition, and return to normal bowel function.

METHODS: This single centre, 2-arm, parallel, 1:1, unblinded non-inferiority randomized controlled trial compared the safety and efficacy of oral antibiotics versus intravenous antibiotics in the outpatient treatment of uncomplicated colonic diverticulitis. Inclusion criteria were patients older than 18 years of age with CT proven acute uncomplicated colonic diverticulitis (Modified Hinchey Classification Stage 0-1a). Patients were randomly allocated receive either intravenous or oral antibiotics, both groups being treated in the outpatient setting with a Hospital in the Home (HITH) service. The primary outcome was the 30-day unplanned admission rate, secondary outcomes were biochemical markers, time to pain resolution, time to cessation of pain medication, time to return to normal function and time to return to normal bowel function.

RESULTS: In total 118 patients who presented with uncomplicated colonic diverticulitis were recruited into the trial. Fifty-eight participants were treated with IV antibiotics, and 60 were given oral antibiotics. We found there was no significant difference between groups with regards to 30-day unplanned admissions or inflammatory markers. There was also no significant difference with regards to time to pain resolution, cessation of pain medication use, return to normal nutrition, or return to normal bowel function.

CONCLUSION: Outpatient management of uncomplicated diverticulitis with oral antibiotics proved equally as safe and efficacious as intravenous antibiotic treatment in this randomized non-inferiority control trial.

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