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      Clostridioides difficile in Outpatients: Application of a Diagnostic Algorithm Recommended by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases


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          This study aimed at evaluating in outpatients an algorithm for the laboratory diagnosis of Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile infection (CDI), i.e., enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) detecting bacterial glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) and toxin A/B, followed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses of samples with discordant EIA results.

          In total, 9802 examinations of stool samples by GDH and toxin EIAs performed in 7263 outpatients and 488 inpatients were analyzed retrospectively. Samples with discordant EIA results had been tested by a commercially available PCR assay detecting genes of the C. difficile-specific triose phosphate isomerase (tpi) and toxin B (tcdB). Concordant EIA results (686 C. difficile-positive, 8121 negative) were observed for 8807 (89.8%; 95% CI, 89.2–90.4%) samples. Of 958 samples with discordant EIA results, 895 were analyzed using PCR and 580 of 854 GDH-positive/borderline, toxin-negative samples (67.9%; 95% CI, 64.7–71.0%) were positive for tpi and tcdB, while 274 samples (32.1%; 95% CI, 29.0–35.3%) were tcdB-negative. In contrast, 35 of 41 GDH-negative, toxin-positive/borderline samples (85.4%; 95% CI, 71.2–93.5%) were tcdB-negative. Still, 6 samples (14.6%; 95% CI, 6.5–28.8%) yielded positive PCR results for both genes.

          In conclusion, around 90% of the samples were analyzed appropriately by only applying EIAs. Approximately one third of the PCR-analyzed samples were tcdB-negative; thus, patients most likely did not require CDI treatment.

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          Clostridium difficile Infection.

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            Clostridium difficile testing in the clinical laboratory by use of multiple testing algorithms.

            The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has risen almost 3-fold in the United States over the past decade, emphasizing the need for rapid and accurate tests for CDI. The Cepheid Xpert C. difficile assay is an integrated, closed, nucleic acid amplification system that automates sample preparation and real-time PCR detection of the toxin B gene (tcdB). A total of 432 stool specimens from symptomatic patients were tested by a glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) assay, a toxin A and B enzyme immunoassay (EIA), the Xpert C. difficile assay, and a cell culture cytotoxicity neutralization assay (CCCN). The results of these methods, used individually and in combination, were compared to those of toxigenic culture. Results for the Xpert C. difficile assay alone showed a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value (NPV) of 94.4, 96.3, 84.0, and 98.8%, while the EIA alone gave corresponding values of 58.3, 94.7, 68.9, and 91.9%, respectively. An algorithm using the GDH assay and the EIA (plus the CCCN if the EIA was negative) showed corresponding values of 83.1, 96.7, 83.1, and 96.1%. The Xpert C. difficile assay was statistically superior to the EIA (P, <0.001 by Fisher's exact test) and to the GDH-EIA-CCCN algorithm (P, 0.0363). Combining the GDH and Xpert C. difficile assays lowered both the sensitivity and the NPV of the Xpert assay. The GDH-EIA-CCCN procedure required, on average, 2 days to complete testing on GDH-positive results, while testing by the Xpert C. difficile assay was completed, on average, in less than 1 h. Xpert C. difficile testing yielded the highest sensitivity and NPV, in the least amount of time, of the individual- and multiple-test algorithms evaluated in this study.
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              Current knowledge on the laboratory diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection

              Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a spore-forming, toxin-producing, gram-positive anaerobic bacterium that is the principal etiologic agent of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Infection with C. difficile (CDI) is characterized by diarrhea in clinical syndromes that vary from self-limited to mild or severe. Since its initial recognition as the causative agent of pseudomembranous colitis, C. difficile has spread around the world. CDI is one of the most common healthcare-associated infections and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among older adult hospitalized patients. Due to extensive antibiotic usage, the number of CDIs has increased. Diagnosis of CDI is often difficult and has a substantial impact on the management of patients with the disease, mainly with regards to antibiotic management. The diagnosis of CDI is primarily based on the clinical signs and symptoms and is only confirmed by laboratory testing. Despite the high burden of CDI and the increasing interest in the disease, episodes of CDI are often misdiagnosed. The reasons for misdiagnosis are the lack of clinical suspicion or the use of inappropriate tests. The proper diagnosis of CDI reduces transmission, prevents inadequate or unnecessary treatments, and assures best antibiotic treatment. We review the options for the laboratory diagnosis of CDI within the settings of the most accepted guidelines for CDI diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CDI.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp)
                Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp)
                European Journal of Microbiology & Immunology
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                06 September 2019
                03 October 2019
                : 9
                : 3
                : 88-90
                [1 ]MVZ Labor 28, Mecklenburgische Str. 28 , 14197 Berlin, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Microbiology and Infection Immunology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin , Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200 Berlin, Germany
                Author notes
                *Author for correspondence: MVZ Labor 28, Mecklenburgische Str. 28, 14197 Berlin; Tel.: 030-82093262; E-mail: ignatius@ 123456labor28.de
                © 2019, The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes - if any – are indicated.

                : 03 August 2019
                : 09 August 2019
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 9, Pages: 3
                Original Research Paper

                clostridioides difficile,clostridium difficile,eia,pcr,algorithm,escmid


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