Computed Tomography Evaluation of Diverticulitis

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Acute diverticulitis is a frequent and important diagnosis in gastrointestinal disease, most commonly involving the colon. It is estimated that approximately 15% to 30% of patients with diverticulosis develop symptomatic divertic-ulitis at some point in the natural history of the condition, often requiring medical and/or surgical therapy. The clinical diagnosis is often difficult to make, and several radiological studies have been used over the past decades to assist in the diagnosis of acute diverticulitis. These include barium enema, ultrasound, and computed tomography (CT). A number of studies over the past decade have shown CT to be the preferable initial examination because of its ability to demonstrate not only the extent of intramural inflammation but also the degree of pericolic disease, including intraperitoneal inflammation, perforation, and abscess formation. Additional benefits of CT imaging include guiding therapeutic interventions in complicated forms of diverticular disease and providing an alternative diagnosis in patients without diverticulitis. The accuracy, techniques, criteria for diagnosis, and staging and applications of CT imaging in acute diverticulitis are discussed.

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