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Summary

Background:  Diverticular disease emerged as a common problem in Western countries over the course of the 20th century.

Aims:  To determine the time trends in diverticular disease for hospital admissions in England between 1989/1990 and 1999/2000 and population mortality rates from 1979 to 1999.

Methods:  Hospital Episode Statistics were obtained from the Department of Health and mortality data from the Office for National Statistics.

Results:  Between 1989/1990 and 1999/2000, annual age-standardized hospital admission rates for diverticular disease increased by 16% for males (from 20.1 to 23.2 per 100 000) and 12% for females (from 28.6 to 31.9 per 100 000). Female rates were significantly higher than male rates throughout the study period. The proportions of admissions with an operation increased by 16% for males (from 22.9% to 24.1%) and 14% for females (from 19.7% to 22.3%). Older patients were less likely to undergo operation than younger patients. In-patient case fatality rates and population mortality rates remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Admission rates for diverticular disease increased over the study period. The proportion of patients who underwent operation increased, but in-patient and population mortality rates remained unchanged. With an ageing population, diverticular disease will become an increasingly important clinical problem in England.