Home E-Weekly July 11, 2017

Are Fecal Transplants the Cure for Recurrent C. diff?

Published: July 10, 2017

MIRACLE POOP? Fecal transplants restore missing microbial flora to the gut of a fecal transplant recipient.

Could fecal transplants be a more effective treatment than antibiotics against recurrent Clostridium difficile? Researchers are cautiously optimistic that infusing a healthy donor's stool into a C. diff patient will repopulate the colon with healthy bacteria and prevent a recurrence.

For a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine tracked the nationwide prevalence of C. diff from 2001 to 2012 — with data from nearly 39 million patients — and found that:

  • cases of multiple recurring C. diff increased by 189%;
  • cases of common C. diff increased by 43%; and
  • women over 55 were the most common C. diff victims, especially those who'd been exposed to corticosteroids, proton-pump inhibitors and/or antibiotics.

The researchers also were intrigued by a 2013 study of 43 patients that found that fecal transplant treatments were effective in 81% of recurrent C. diff patients, versus a 31% success rate with patients who were given repeated and extended courses of vancomycin, the conventional treatment.

The researchers say that while infusing donor feces is a potentially safe and effective treatment against recurrent C. diff, they say more data is needed to establish the long-term safety of the procedure. They also note that antibiotic treatment for an initial C. diff infection typically doesn't induce a durable response in about 15 to 26% of patients and that an effective treatment against recurrent C. diff is not available.

In a fecal transplant, fecal matter is collected from a tested donor, mixed with a saline or other solution, strained and then infused in a patient by colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or enema. The goal is to replace favorable bacteria — in this case, bacteria that helps prevent C. diff — that's been killed or suppressed, usually by antibiotics.

Jim Burger

New to Outpatient Surgery Magazine?
Sign-up to continue reading this article.
Register Now
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

The Shift From Disinfection to Sterilization

We overhauled our GI scope reprocessing process in pursuit of our ultimate goal: to eliminate high-level disinfection.

Patient Warming Stops SSIs Cold

Maintaining normothermia promotes wound healing and helps reduce infection risks.

Weighing Your Fluid Waste Disposal Options

Are you using the best method for your facility?