Hospital Burden of Clostridium difficile Infections Grows

Patients also diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease at greater risk for mortality

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Clostridium difficile is a growing health care burden in U.S. hospitals that poses a significant risk factor for patients with underlying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a report published Sept. 28 in the online version of Gut.

David G. Binion, M.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of 2003 covering 994 community hospitals in 37 states. Subjects were broken into three groups: those diagnosed with C. difficile (44,400), those diagnosed with IBD (77,366) and those diagnosed with both (2,804).

Patients in the C. difficile-IBD group had a greater risk of in-hospital mortality than patients with IBD alone or with C. difficile alone. Patients with both conditions also had longer, more expensive hospital stays than patients with IBD alone and were more likely to undergo lower gastrointestinal endoscopy. Patients with ulcerative colitis appeared to have an increased susceptibility to C. difficile compared to those with Crohn's disease.

"It is important for clinicians treating patients with IBD in all hospitals to have a high degree of awareness about this complication in these patients," the authors suggest. "The significant health care burden associated with C. difficile in the IBD population necessitates a prudent use of antibiotics in this group to decrease the incidence of this complication."

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