African Health Sciences

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Diverticular disease of the colon in Kampala, Uganda

Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Henry Kasozi


Background: Diverticular disease of the colon has been reported to be a disease of the western world, however of recent it has been described in the Africans.

Objective: To study the clinical, demographic and radiological features of diverticular disease of the colon in Kampala, Uganda.

Methods: A retrospective and prospective descriptive study was carried out between January 1995 December 1996 and January 1998 December 2000. The period January 1995-December 1996 was retrospective while January 1998-December 20000 was prospective. Thirty-one consecutive patients were found to have diverticular disease of the colon at barium enema studies in two major hospitals and two private x-ray units in Kampala, Uganda.

Results: Thirty-one patients were seen during the study period; all were over 40 years of age. The commonest presenting complaint was rectal bleeding in 13 patients followed by abdominal pain in 12 patients. Most patients were found to eat a mixed type of diet, that is both low and high residue food.

Radiologically the diverticulae appeared as flask shaped or rounded outpouchings at barium enema. This would sometimes be accompanied by a serrated appearance of the affected area. The commonest site affected was the sigmoid colon followed by the ascending colon.

Conclusion: Although it was previously reported that diverticular disease was unknown in black Africans, it has been noted that cases are now being increasingly discovered. It is recommended that our index of suspicious for diverticular disease of the colon and its complications should also increase.

African Health Sciences 2002; 2(1): 29-32

AJOL African Journals Online