What is the incidence of diverticulitis in the US?

Updated: Aug 06, 2019
  • Author: Elie M Ghoulam, MD, MS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Acute diverticulitis is the third most common inpatient gastrointestinal diagnosis in the United States, at an annual cost of $2.1 billion, and it is the most frequently listed gastrointestinal diagnosis in outpatient clinics and the emergency department. [5]

The prevalence of diverticulosis has been shown to be age dependent and ranges from less than 20% at age 40 years to 60% by age 60 years. [2]  The prevalence of diverticulitis has been rising over the past several decades, affecting an estimated 180/100,000 persons per year. [17]

Previously, it was believed that around 15%-20% of patients with diverticulosis would develop diverticulitis; however, more recent findings have shown the numbers to be closer to 1%-4%. [18]  Of those with incident disease, approximately 20% have one or more recurrent episodes within 10 years. [2]

Diverticulitis is also a leading indication for elective colectomy. This condition affects patients' quality of life beyond the period of acute illness.

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