Diverticulosis of the Colon

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DIVERTICULA are not infrequently found in the various portions of the gastrointestinal tract. They occur more frequently in the colon, especially in the sigmoid colon, than elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. Collins1 has reported an incidence of diverticula of the colon in 7 per cent of 3000 consecutive barium enema examinations.


Diverticula of the colon are blind sacs or pouches branching from the lumen of the colon. While the exact cause is unknown, several theories have been suggested.

The embryologic theory2 postulates that the bowel develops from a diverticulum. Since the liver, pancreas, cecum and appendix arise as diverticula from the bowel, sporadic secondary diverticula should not be unexpected. Diverticula are found in close relationship to the vessels entering the bowel from the mesentery. At these points of entry into the bowel wall there may be weak spots which herniate with the formation of diverticula.3 There are also inherent weak areas in the bowel wall which cannot withstand the intraluminal pressure to which they are subjected.4


Diverticula occur most frequently in the sigmoid colon but rarely in the rectum. They appear with decreasing frequency from the sigmoid colon proximally to the cecum.

This report is based on a study of 726 consecutive cases of diverticulosis of the colon observed at the Cleveland Clinic. Each patient has had a complete gastrointestinal survey. Cases in which diverticula were merely suspected either clinically or radiologically were excluded. The series includes cases in which diverticulosis of the colon was the only organic. . .



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