[Journals]: Community-onset Clostridium difficile linked to higher risk of surgery

April 4, 2012

 

Patients whose symptoms of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) start outside of the hospital setting have a higher risk of colectomy due to severe infection, according to a large multicenter study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

 

Infection from C. difficile is associated with antibiotic use and results in colitis and diarrhea. Severe cases can be life-threatening. Colectomy, or surgical removal of most or all of the large intestine, is the treatment of choice for patients who have life-threatening CDI that does not respond to medical therapy. However, it is associated with a high risk of death in these very sick patients.

 

To assess rates of colectomy due to CDI, a team of researchers at 5 tertiary-care hospitals in the US collected data on CDI cases over a six year period from 2000 and 2006. They identified 8,569 cases of CDI, and 75 patients of this group underwent a colectomy due to severe CDI, a rate of 8.7 colectomies per 1000 CDI cases. Patients with community-onset CDI had colectomy rates four times higher than patients who developed symptoms while hospitalized. Individuals who were 65 years old or older were also more likely to have a CDI-related colectomy.

 

Patients in the community were previously considered to be at low risk for CDI. A recent CDC Vital Signs reported that 75 percent of CDI symptoms first show in community settings like nursing home patients or in people recently cared for in doctor's offices and clinics. Together these findings illustrate the increasing trend and severity of community-onset CDI.

 

Future prospective surveillance studies using standardize case definitions are needed to better characterize severe complications from CDI and to help healthcare providers decide which patients would potentially benefit from surgical intervention.

 
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Amelia M. Kasper, Humaa A. Nyazee, Deborah S. Yokoe, Jeanmarie Mayer, Julie E. Mangino, Yosef M. Khan, Bala Hota, Victoria J. Fraser, Erik R. Dubberke, "A Multicenter Study of Clostridium difficile Infection–Related Colectomy, 2000-2006." Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 33:5 (May 2012).

 

Published through a partnership between the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and The University of Chicago Press, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology provides original, peer-reviewed scientific articles for anyone involved with an infection control or epidemiology program in a hospital or healthcare facility. ICHE is ranked 15 out of 140 journals in its discipline in the latest Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.

 

SHEA is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world with expertise in healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention and control. SHEA's mission is to prevent and control healthcare-associated infections and advance the field of healthcare epidemiology. The society leads this field by promoting science and research and providing high-quality education and training in epidemiologic methods and prevention strategies. SHEA upholds the value and critical contributions of healthcare epidemiology to improving patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings www.shea-online.org.

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