Diverticulitis x ray

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Diverticulitis Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Diverticulitis from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings





Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy


Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Elsaiey, MBBCH [2]


On abdominal X-ray, diverticulitis is characterized by multiple air and fluid levels if there is an intestinal perforation. Chest X-ray should be done in patients with diverticulitis to investigate for pneumoperitoneum, which is a harbinger of a critical illness and will lead to a change in the management plan for the case. X-ray can be used if CT is not available and in uncomplicated cases.

X Ray

Abdominal X ray

Barium enema

Air fluid levels and obstruction. Source:Dr Abdullah Alqudah, <a href="https://radiopaedia.org/">Radiopaedia.org</a>.
  • The single contrast technique may be preferred over the double contrast technique in the following cases:
    • The patient is unable to turn quickly/effectively since the double contrast technique requires rapid changes in patient position
    • When only the position and length of a structure is required
    • Evaluation for acute diverticulitis when CT is unavailable
    • Evaluation for a colonic fistula
    • Evaluation for postoperative leak after colon surgery
  • Contraindications of the barium enema include the following:[6]


  1. Rafferty J, Shellito P, Hyman NH, Buie WD, Standards Committee of American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (2006). "Practice parameters for sigmoid diverticulitis". Dis Colon Rectum. 49 (7): 939–44. doi:10.1007/s10350-006-0578-2. PMID 16741596.
  2. Doris PE, Strauss RW (1985). "The expanded role of the barium enema in the evaluation of patients presenting with acute abdominal pain". J Emerg Med. 3 (2): 93–100. PMID 4093571.
  3. McKee RF, Deignan RW, Krukowski ZH (1993). "Radiological investigation in acute diverticulitis". Br J Surg. 80 (5): 560–5. PMID 8518890.
  4. Hayward MW, Hayward C, Ennis WP, Roberts CJ (1984). "A pilot evaluation of radiography of the acute abdomen". Clin Radiol. 35 (4): 289–91. PMID 6734062.
  5. Gottesman L, Zevon SJ, Brabbee GW, Dailey T, Wichern WA (1984). "The use of water-soluble contrast enemas in the diagnosis of acute lower left quadrant peritonitis". Dis Colon Rectum. 27 (2): 84–8. PMID 6697835.
  6. Harned RK, Consigny PM, Cooper NB, Williams SM, Woltjen AJ (1982). "Barium enema examination following biopsy of the rectum or colon". Radiology. 145 (1): 11–6. doi:10.1148/radiology.145.1.7122864. PMID 7122864.