Thirty-four patients with colovesical fistulas seen over a recent 10 year period were reviewed. Diverticulitis was the most common cause of colovesical fistula, accounting for 71 percent of patients in our series. The majority of patients present electively, and most have urinary tract complaints. In those patients in our study who presented with systemic infection, urinary obstruction was present in 70 percent. Although proctosigmoidoscopy and barium enema examination are essential in the preoperative assessment, cystoscopy is the most useful test in suggesting or confirming the diagnosis of colovesical fistula. Intravenous urography is not necessary in the evaluation of these patients. The surgical treatment depends on the cause of the fistula. For patients with an inflammatory cause of the fistula, one-stage operative treatment is associated with low morbidity and decreased length of stay compared with operative treatment in more than one stage. In the presence of severe inflammation or inadequate bowel preparation, two-stage operative treatment is safe and effective. Operations in three stages for colovesical fistula are not indicated. The primary objectives in the management of colovesical fistulas due to unresectable malignancy are relief of intestinal and urinary obstruction and fecal diversion. Resection of the malignancy should be performed whenever possible.
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