Ulcerative colitis and the aging-related development of colonic diverticula
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Aim of this observational case-control study was to assess the prevalence, features, and risk factors of colonic diverticula in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC).
The data of 896 UC patients aged ≥ 30 years from Brescia IBD database were retrospectively analyzed. Individuals with colonic diverticula were identified and prevalence was compared with that of control patients undergoing screening colonoscopy after gender/age matching. A nested cohort study was then conducted among UC patients in order to define eventual association of diverticula with specific clinico-pathologic parameters.
Prevalence of subjects with diverticula was 11.4% among 465 UC patients aged 49 years and older, significantly lower than 35.1% prevalence in control patients of same age and gender (p < 0.001). Advancing age was a significant risk factor for diverticula development in both groups. Among UC patients, a short duration and a late onset of UC were both significantly associated to the presence of diverticula. Moreover, UC patients with diverticula had a significantly lower frequency of flares per year, even if maximal flare severity and frequency of hospital admission were similar to those of subjects without diverticula. UC patients with diverticula had a trend toward more frequent extension of UC to the left colon, possibly because of their older age. The majority of those patients had few sigmoid diverticula without symptoms.
Development of colonic diverticula is substantially reduced in patients with UC, markedly among those with an early onset, a long history of inflammatory disease, and a high flare frequency. This study reinforces the hypothesis sustaining a protective role of UC against colonic diverticula.
KeywordsUlcerative colitis Colonic diverticula Diverticular disease Natural history of ulcerative colitis
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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