Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Diverticulitis?

Jamie Shalkow, MD


May 09, 2016

  • Acute diverticulitis can usually be diagnosed on the basis of history and physical examination. Laboratory tests may be of help when the diagnosis is in question.

  • A hemogram may reveal leukocytosis and a left shift, indicating infection. However, the absence of leukocytosis does not rule out diverticulitis; 20%-40% of patients have a normal white blood cell count. This is particularly true in patients who are immunocompromised, in elderly patients, and in those with less severe disease. A hemoglobin level is important when the patient reports hematochezia.

  • Chemistries may be helpful in the patient who is vomiting or has diarrhea, to assess electrolyte abnormalities. Renal function is assessed before administration of most intravenous contrast material.

  • Liver tests and lipase measurement may help to exclude other causes of abdominal pain.

For more on the workup of diverticulitis, read here.


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