Acute diverticulitis in renal transplant patients: should we treat them differently?

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Current guidelines suggest that transplant patients with acute diverticulitis should be managed aggressively with early operative intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality. This study compared the treatment choices and clinical outcomes between renal transplant patients and immunocompetent patients with acute diverticulitis.


A retrospective review was performed of all patients who were admitted with acute diverticulitis between 2002 and 2015 at a single academic institution. Patient demographics, comorbidities, physiologic and radiologic disease severity, management, and disease-specific outcomes were recorded and compared between renal transplant patients and immunocompetent patients. Predictors of complications also were analyzed.


In the study, 20 renal transplant patients and 134 immunocompetent patients were admitted for acute diverticulitis and were followed for a median time of 36 and 40 months, respectively. Patient demographics were similar between the groups. Transplant patients had significantly more comorbidities. Overall, there were no differences in physiologic disease severity or rates of elective or urgent operation, ostomy, permanent ostomy, duration of stay, 30-day readmission, disease recurrence or disease-specific complications, organ failure, or death. Among patients with complicated disease, renal transplant patients were significantly more likely to undergo an urgent operation and had more complications. On multivariate analysis, undergoing operative therapy remained the sole predictor of complications.


Nonoperative management of renal transplant patients who present with uncomplicated diverticulitis is safe as outcomes are similar to immunocompetent patients. However, the optimal management of renal transplant patients with complicated diverticulitis remains unclear as both treatment choices and complication rates differed from immunocompetent patients.

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