BACKGROUND. Diverticular disease was previously thought to be non-existent in the black African population. Studies over the past four
decades, however, have shown a steady increase in the prevalence of the disease.
OBJECTIVE. To report on the profile and current prevalence of diverticular disease in the black South African (SA) population at Dr George
Mukhari Academic Hospital, Pretoria, SA.
METHODS. A retrospective descriptive study was performed in black SA patients who were diagnosed with diverticular disease by
colonoscopy between 1 January and 31 December 2015.
RESULTS. Of 348 patients who had undergone colonoscopies and who were eligible for inclusion in this study, 47 were diagnosed with
diverticular disease – a prevalence of 13.50% (95% confidence interval 10.30 - 17.50). The greatest number of patients diagnosed were in
their 7th and 8th decades, with an age range of 46 - 86 (mean 67) years. There was a female predominance of 57.45%. Lower gastrointestinal
bleeding was the most common (65.96%) indication for colonoscopy. The left colon was most commonly involved (72.34%), followed by
the right colon (55.31%). A substantial number of patients had pancolonic involvement (27.65%).
CONCLUSION. This retrospective study suggests that there has been a considerable increase in the prevalence of diverticular disease among
black South Africans, possibly owing to changes in dietary habits and socioeconomic status.