Prevalence Severity of C. Difficile Colitis Increasing

Steep rise seen in colitis-associated death and colectomy rates since 1993

TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence, total mortality rate and colectomy rate of Clostridium difficile colitis has dramatically increased in the United States since 1993, according to a report in the July issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Rocco Ricciardi, M.D., then of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, and now of Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., and colleagues analyzed discharge data on 78 million patients who were hospitalized between 1993 and 2003.

Between 1993 and 2003, the researchers found significant increases in the prevalence of C. difficile colitis discharges (from 261 to 546 cases per 100,000 discharged patients), the total mortality rate (from 20.3 to 50.2 deaths per 100,000 discharged patients) and the colectomy rate (from 1.2 to 3.4 per 1,000 patients).

"To our knowledge, this study is the first population-based data analysis in the United States to demonstrate this change and confirms similar trends in C. difficile colitis severity and prevalence found in other countries," the authors conclude. "While these data cannot determine the cause, further research in this area is clearly needed. Heightened awareness of the increasing disease burden of C. difficile colitis is an important first step in controlling the public health ramifications of this important and morbid nosocomial infection."

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