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World Gastroenterology Organisation

Global Guardian of Digestive Health. Serving the World.

Definition: Diverticulum

A sac-like protrusion of mucosa through the muscular colonic wall [1]. Protrusion occurs in weak areas of the bowel wall through which blood vessels can penetrate. Typically 5–10 mm in size. Diverticula are really pseudodiverticular (false diverticula), as they contain only mucosa and submucosa covered by serosa.

Diverticular disease consists of:

  • Diverticulosis: the presence of diverticula within the colon
  • Diverticulitis: inflammation of a diverticulum
  • Diverticular bleeding

Types of diverticular disease:

  • Simple (75%), with no complications
  • Complicated (25%), with abscesses, fistula, obstruction, peritonitis, and sepsis

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Core Review Team

  • Trevor Murphy (Jamaica)
  • Richard Hunt (UK)
  • Michael Fried (Switzerland)
  • Justus H. Krabshuis (France)

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