Behold the power of poop. That's right: Fecal transplants have shown promise against recurrent Clostridium difficile infections.
It's technically called a fecal microbiota transplant, or FMT, and it works like this. When a patient's C. diff. infection does not respond to round after round of antibiotics, doctors break out the secret weapon: healthy donor feces, filtered and thinned with saline solution, inserted via colonoscopy. The fecal transplants can also be done by sigmoidoscopy, enema or nasogastric tube. In particular, patients with multiple relapses of
C. diff. infections benefited from donor-feces infusions, researchers say.
Not only is it working early on, but it's working remarkably well on the life-threatening and difficult-to-treat condition. A study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 15 of 16 patients (94%) with recurrent C. diff.-associated diarrhea were cured after 1 or 2 FMT treatments. Meanwhile, vancomycin therapy got rid of symptoms for only 31% of study patients.