Colonic diverticular disease is responsible for over 300,000 admissions and expenditures exceeding $2.7 billion/year. There is recent evidence that rates of treatment for diverticulitis have increased in the United States over the last decade. We hypothesize that these national trends of increasing rates of hospitalizations for diverticulitis would be found in an analysis of a single-state discharge database. Data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development were used to analyze treatment for diverticulitis in California from 1995 to 2006. For each hospitalization, surgical care was determined based on procedure codes for left colon resection and/or colostomy. Overall numbers of admissions for acute diverticulitis increased throughout the 12-year study period with an estimated annual percentage of change (EAPC) of 2.1 per cent (P < 0.001). Rates of admissions increased most rapidly in patients 20 to 34-years-old (EAPC = 8.6%, P < 0.001) and 35 to 49 years old (EAPC = 5.7%, P < 0.001). Elective colectomies had an EAPC of 2.1 per cent (P < 0.001), which was also most dramatic in younger age groups. Between 1995 and 2006 we found significant increases in both the rates of hospitalization for diverticulitis and rates of elective surgical treatment in California. These increases are entirely due to higher rates of care for younger patients.
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