Impact of Clostridium difficile infection in patients with ulcerative colitis

Revital Kariv, Udayakumar Navaneethan, Preethi G K Venkatesh, Rocio Lopez, Bo Shen
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2011, 5 (1): 34-40

BACKGROUND: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is becoming prevalent in general population as well as in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

AIM: The aim of the study was to identify risk factors for CDI in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and to assess outcome of UC in patients following CDI.

METHODS: UC inpatients or outpatients who had positive results for C. difficile toxins A and B between 2000 and 2006 were identified (N=39) and matched for age and gender to UC patients who were negative C. difficile toxins and had never been diagnosed with CDI (N=39). Records were reviewed for adverse clinical outcome, defined as colectomy within 3 months of C. difficile testing. Conditional logistic regression was used to analyze multivariable association to identify risk factors for CDI and for adverse clinical outcome.

RESULTS: A total of 78 subjects were analyzed, 60% were males. Median age was 39. Among 39 patients with CDI, 20 (47.2%) were diagnosed as outpatients, 50% failed treatment with the first antibiotic monotherapy, and 21.2% had recurrent infection. Antibiotic exposure within 30 days prior to C. difficile testing was found to be associated with an increased risk for CDI with an odds ratio of 12.0 (95% CI 1.2, 124.2) Subsequent colectomy within 3 months after CDI diagnosis, was not associated with CDI in both univariable and multivariable analyses. After adjusting for CDI, lack of 5-aminosalicylic acid (ASA) in the treatment regimen was significantly associated with colectomy with an odds ratio of 3.3 (95% CI: 1.2, 9.4). There was no UC- or CDI-associated mortality in this case series.

CONCLUSIONS: Recent antibiotic exposure was a risk factor for CDI in UC patients. Interestingly, CDI does not seem to adversely affect short-term adverse clinical outcome (colectomy).

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