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JOURNAL ARTICLE

High frequency of nonadherence to Clostridium difficile treatment guidelines

M Catherine McEllistrem, Molly McGraw, Andrew G Sahud, Noreen H Chan-Tompkins, Raktima Goswami, Nitin Bhanot
Southern Medical Journal 2014, 107 (9): 597-9
25188627

OBJECTIVES: The 2010 Infectious Diseases Society of America/Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America treatment guidelines for Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) recommend oral metronidazole for mild-to-moderate disease and oral vancomycin for severe disease. Given that disease severity is easily determined by the peripheral white blood cell count and serum creatinine level, a computerized decision support (CDS) pathway to guide treatment is inherently appealing. Because providers often override or ignore the computer-based alerts, the proposed CDS pathway should be justified before implementation.

METHODS: We undertook this study to ascertain the frequency of nonadherence to CDI guidelines. Between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008, a total of 229 cases were screened and 78 cases were included in the study, which took place at a 661-bed acute tertiary care teaching hospital.

RESULTS: During the year-long study of CDI cases at our tertiary care hospital, 61.5% (48/78) of the patients received an antibiotic regimen that was not recommended by the 2010 guidelines. Among the 35 patients with mild-to-moderate CDI, 85.7% (30/35) received the recommended treatment of oral metronidazole monotherapy; in contrast, among the 43 patients with severe disease, none (0/43) received the recommended treatment of oral vancomycin monotherapy (P < 0.01). Moreover, 17.9% (14/78) of patients received concurrent oral metronidazole and vancomycin, a regimen that is not recommended anywhere in the Infectious Diseases Society of America/Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America guidelines and which may be associated with a poor outcome. Patients who received combination oral metronidazole and vancomycin were not more likely to have comorbidities or severe CDI compared with those who received a single antibiotic agent.

CONCLUSIONS: As a result of this study, we plan to educate our providers on the treatment of CDI through a CDS pathway in an effort to increase guideline adherence, decrease inappropriate antibiotic use, and potentially improve patient outcomes.

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