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Diverticulosis of the colon is rare amongst immigrants living in the Zaanstreek region in the Netherlands


Dr R. J. L. F Loffeld, Department of Internal Medicine, Zaans Medisch Centrum, PO BOX 210, 1500 EE Zaandam, the Netherlands.


Background  Data on prevalence of diverticulosis related to ethnicity or race in the Western world are very sparse. A cross-sectional study was done in patients undergoing endoscopy of the colon in order to assess the prevalence of diverticulosis and relate the presence to ethnicity.

Methods  An analysis was undertaken of the endoscopy reports from all consecutive patients undergoing endoscopy of the colon. As a reference group all patients in whom no abnormalities were detected were used. In the Zaanstreek region a large population of immigrants, mostly of Turkish descent, is present. These immigrants were studied separately.

Results  In a period of 12 years 3004 patients were diagnosed with diverticulosis. Of these 2975 were authentic Dutch. The remainder 29 patients were immigrants. Diverticulosis was diagnosed significantly more often in immigrant men (P < 0.0001). Immigrants with diverticulosis were significantly younger than the authentic Dutch, P < 0.001. There was no major difference in representation of immigrants with diverticular disease in different age cohorts. The reference group consisted of 3356 patients. In this group 2998 patients were authentic Dutch, while 358 patients were immigrants. There was no difference in numbers of men and women amongst the immigrants. Of the patients with a normal colon and rectum 11% is immigrant. In the group of patients with diverticulosis only 0.9% was immigrant.

Conclusion  This study clearly shows that prevalence of diverticular disease is very low in immigrants. The majority of these immigrants are of Turkish descent. In addition, the majority of immigrants with diverticulosis was male.