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Al-Alem, Al-Aklabi, Sadee, Al-Amer, and Khan: The prevalence of diverticular disease in the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Introduction: Diverticulosis is an outward protrusion of the mucosa and submucosa of the colon. Only 5% of patients may develop inflammation of the diverticula (diverticulitis). Lifestyle and eating habits significantly impact the distributional prevalence of the disease. Diverticulosis is on the rise in developing countries and under-reported in countries such as Saudi Arabia. Despite the low complication rates of the disease, immediate intervention is critical because of the severity of the complications once they have occurred.

Objectives: A hospital-based study to estimate the prevalence of diverticulosis and its clinical implication on patients.

Materials and methods: This is a cross-sectional study where data were extracted from the colonoscopy medical charts (2006–2011) at the National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Assuming a prevalence of 27%, α = 0.05, β = 0.20, and a precision of 0.05, the optimal sample size was 302 subjects. Only 269 charts met the study inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Data were analysed descriptively to identify both demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with diverticulosis. Moreover, logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of ‘diverticulitis’.

Results: Diverticular disease accounted for 7%; it was mainly positioned on the left side (57%). The majority of the patients were male (62%), mean age (63 ± 12 years), mean body mass index (29.1 ± 5.9 kg/m2). The majority of patients were symptomatic (72%), where diffused abdominal pain ranked highest (51%). Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was the only significant predictor of diverticulitis (P-value = 0.03)

Conclusions: This study is an exploratory study that can pave the way for future investigational research since it sheds light on the prevalence of the disease, its clinical implications and possible risk factors.

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