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      Clostridium difficile: epidemiology, diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities—a systematic review

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          Abstract

          This literature review looks at the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnostics and current medical and surgical management of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection. A literature search of PubMed and Cochrane database regarding C. difficile infection was performed. Information was extracted from 43 published articles from 2000 to the present day which met inclusion criteria. C. difficile is a gram-positive, anaerobic bacillus, which is widely found in the environment, especially in the soil. The occurrence of more resistant strains, which is mainly connected with the wide use of antibiotics, resulted in the rapid spread of the bacteria to different hospital departments. Particularly, elderly patients in surgical wards and intensive care units are at significant risk of developing C. difficile infection, which greatly increases morbidity and mortality. Symptoms of infection with C. difficile vary greatly. At one end of the spectrum, there are asymptomatic carriers, at the other patients with life-threatening toxic megacolon. Metronidazole is considered to be the drug of choice, but recent guidelines recommend Vancomycin. Fulminant colitis and toxic megacolon warrant surgical intervention. The optimal time for surgery is within 48 h of initiating conservative treatment without seeing a response, the development of multiple organ failure or a bowel perforation. A factor that has become increasingly important and relevant is the escalating expense of treatment for patients with C. difficile infection. It is, therefore, highly recommended to consider reviewing all hospital antibiotic policies and clinical guidelines that may contribute to the prevention of the infection.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Clinical practice guidelines for Clostridium difficile infection in adults: 2010 update by the society for healthcare epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the infectious diseases society of America (IDSA).

           ,  Ciarán Kelly,   (2010)
          Since publication of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America position paper on Clostridium difficile infection in 1995, significant changes have occurred in the epidemiology and treatment of this infection. C. difficile remains the most important cause of healthcare-associated diarrhea and is increasingly important as a community pathogen. A more virulent strain of C. difficile has been identified and has been responsible for more-severe cases of disease worldwide. Data reporting the decreased effectiveness of metronidazole in the treatment of severe disease have been published. Despite the increasing quantity of data available, areas of controversy still exist. This guideline updates recommendations regarding epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and infection control and environmental management.
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            A comparison of vancomycin and metronidazole for the treatment of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, stratified by disease severity.

            The incidence and severity of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been increasing, and there have been recent reports of metronidazole treatment failure. Metronidazole is still commonly used as first-line treatment for CDAD but has never been compared with vancomycin in a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. We conducted such a trial, stratifying patients according to disease severity, to investigate whether one agent was superior for treating either mild or severe disease. From October 1994 through June 2002, patients with CDAD were stratified according to whether they had mild or severe disease based on clinical criteria and were randomly assigned to receive oral metronidazole (250 mg 4 times per day) or oral vancomycin (125 mg 4 times per day) for 10 days. Both groups received an oral placebo in addition to the study drug. Patients were followed up for 21 days to assess cure, treatment failure, relapse, or intolerance. One hundred seventy-two patients were enrolled, and 150 of these patients successfully completed the trial. Among the patients with mild CDAD, treatment with metronidazole or vancomycin resulted in clinical cure in 90% and 98% of the patients, respectively (P=.36). Among the patients with severe CDAD, treatment with metronidazole or vancomycin resulted in clinical cure in 76% and 97% of the patients, respectively (P=.02). Clinical symptoms recurred in 15% of the patients treated with metronidazole and 14% of those treated with vancomycin. Our findings suggest that metronidazole and vancomycin are equally effective for the treatment of mild CDAD, but vancomycin is superior for treating patients with severe CDAD.
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              Host and pathogen factors for Clostridium difficile infection and colonization.

              Clostridium difficile infection is the leading cause of health care-associated diarrhea, and the bacterium can also be carried asymptomatically. The objective of this study was to identify host and bacterial factors associated with health care-associated acquisition of C. difficile infection and colonization. We conducted a 15-month prospective study in six Canadian hospitals in Quebec and Ontario. Demographic information, known risk factors, potential confounding factors, and weekly stool samples or rectal swabs were collected. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on C. difficile isolates to determine the genotype. Levels of serum antibodies against C. difficile toxins A and B were measured. A total of 4143 patients were included in the study; 117 (2.8%) and 123 (3.0%) had health care-associated C. difficile infection and colonization, respectively. Older age and use of antibiotics and proton-pump inhibitors were significantly associated with health care-associated C. difficile infection. Hospitalization in the previous 2 months; use of chemotherapy, proton-pump inhibitors, and H(2) blockers; and antibodies against toxin B were associated with health care-associated C. difficile colonization. Among patients with health care-associated C. difficile infection and those with colonization, 62.7% and 36.1%, respectively, had the North American PFGE type 1 (NAP1) strain. In this study, health care-associated C. difficile infection and colonization were differentially associated with defined host and pathogen variables. The NAP1 strain was predominant among patients with C. difficile infection, whereas asymptomatic patients were more likely to be colonized with other strains. (Funded by the Consortium de Recherche sur le Clostridium difficile.).
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +48-504-261589 , mikazanowski@gmail.com
                Journal
                Tech Coloproctol
                Tech Coloproctol
                Techniques in Coloproctology
                Springer Milan (Milan )
                1123-6337
                1128-045X
                1 November 2013
                1 November 2013
                2014
                : 18
                : 223-232
                Affiliations
                [ ]Second Department of General and Oncological Surgery, Wroclaw Medical University, Borowska Street 213, 50-556 Wrocław, Poland
                [ ]Department of General Surgery, St Michaels Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
                Article
                1081
                10.1007/s10151-013-1081-0
                3950610
                24178946
                © The Author(s) 2013

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag Italia 2014

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