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Am Fam Physician. 2023;107(2):202-203

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Key Points for Practice

• In patients with suspected acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis, abdominal contrast CT has high sensitivity and specificity and is recommended if there is diagnostic uncertainty.

• Uncomplicated diverticulitis in patients with no risk factors for complicated diverticulitis can be managed in the outpatient setting with medical supervision if they can drink fluids, have social support, and wish to avoid admission.

• In patients with uncomplicated diverticulitis and no risk factors for complicated diverticulitis, antibiotic treatment does not affect quality of life or reduce related complications or need for surgery, although it may slightly decrease the likelihood of ongoing diverticulitis.

From the AFP Editors

Acute colonic diverticulitis is the inflammation of abnormal colonic outpouchings and is most common in the left colon in Western countries. An estimated one out of 10 cases of diverticulosis develops into acute diverticulitis and one in eight cases develops into acute diverticulitis complicated by abscess, phlegmon, fistula, obstruction, bleeding, or perforation. There are approximately 200,000 hospitalizations per year for acute diverticulitis in the United States. The American College of Physicians (ACP) performed a systematic review to determine the most effective diagnosis and management options for acute left-sided colonic diverticulitis.

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Coverage of guidelines from other organizations does not imply endorsement by AFP or the AAFP.

This series is coordinated by Michael J. Arnold, MD, Assistant Medical Editor.

A collection of Practice Guidelines published in AFP is available at

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