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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1999 May;23(10):1039-42.

Incidence and outcome of Clostridium difficile infection following autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation.

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  • 1Bone Marrow Transplant Program, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030, USA.


A retrospective evaluation of 200 consecutive recipients of autologous peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT) was conducted to ascertain the incidence and outcome of infection with Clostridium difficile. The diagnosis was confirmed in 14 patients with diarrhea (15 episodes) at a median of 33 days after stem cell infusion. Five patients were neutropenic at the time of diagnosis. Every individual had adverse known risk factors such as recent or current use of antibiotic, corticosteroid and antiviral therapy, recent administration of myeloablative chemotherapy and numerous, prolonged periods of hospitalization. Diarrhea, frequently hemorrhagic, was the most common presenting feature along with fever, abdominal cramps and abdominal distention. Diagnosis was established by the stool-cytotoxin test. Response to standard treatment with oral vancomycin or metronidazole was prompt despite the presence of several adverse prognostic features in these patients. There was only one instance of relapse which was also treated successfully. Several transplant-related variables such as age, sex, underlying malignancy, myelo-ablative regimen, duration of neutropenia, and prophylactic use of oral ampicillin underwent statistical analysis but failed to be predictive of C. difficile infection in such a setting. Finally, C. difficile is not uncommon after autologous PBSCT and must be included in the differential diagnosis in any such patient with diarrhea.

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