Long-term bowel dysfunction and decision regret in diverticulitis: A mixed methods study

Published:August 01, 2022DOI:



      This study had aimed to describe long-term decision regret, bowel dysfunction, and the overall quality of life in patients with diverticulitis, and to determine if elective colectomy was associated with these patient-reported outcome measures.


      This mixed-methods, survey-based study was administered to a national cohort of patients in the United States with diverticulitis. We measured decision regret (Brehaut Decision Regret), bowel dysfunction (Low Anterior Resection Syndrome score), and the overall quality of life (EuroQol 5 Dimension) in this population. We asked open-ended questions to elucidate factors that influenced patients’ choices between elective colectomy and observation.


      Among the 614 respondents, 294 (48%) chose between colectomy and observational management, 94 (15%) had surgery, and 157 (26%) had major Low Anterior Resection Syndrome. Of the 294 that chose between colectomy and observational management, 51 (17%) experienced decision regret. Colectomy was associated with an average decrease in the Brehaut Decision Regret score by 6 points but was not associated with a categorical measure of decision regret (Brehaut Score ≥50). Bowel dysfunction and overall quality of life were not significantly associated with colectomy. Disease-related factors, psychosocial factors, and interactions with physicians were commonly cited as reasons for pursuing colectomy or observational management.


      Patients with self-reported diverticulitis describe high levels of decision regret and bowel dysfunction regardless of chosen management strategy. Physicians should be aware that psychosocial factors can strongly influence a patient’s choice between colectomy and observational management. We advocated for future prospective studies using patient reported outcome metrics to improve outcomes in diverticulitis.

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