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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2000 Apr;25(2):101-9.

Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea in hospitalised patients.

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Pharmacy Practice Research Group, School of Pharmacy, The Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland.



The aim of the present study was to evaluate the incidence, risk factors and cost implications of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea (CDAD) in hospitalized adult patients.


Eighty-seven hospitalized adult patients, positively identified as having CDAD, were reviewed retrospectively to determine the risk factors and cost implications of CDAD.


The clinical manifestations, in addition to diarrhoea, included elevated temperature (= 37.8 degrees C; 42.5%), abdominal pain (63. 2%) and leucocytosis (=12 x 109 cells/l; 52.9%). Eight patients underwent endoscopy, and pseudomembranous colitis was confirmed in all of these patients. Nine patients died during their hospital stay. Cefotaxime and cefuroxime were the agents most commonly associated with CDAD. There was a significant difference (P < 0.001) between the sex distribution of CDAD patients and adult hospital patients (69% of CDAD patients were female vs. 52% of general adult hospital population). Significantly (P < 0.001) more patients with CDAD were admitted from the nursing home (NH) setting. The mean age of patients with CDAD admitted from NHs (n = 19) was older than those cases admitted from the community (n = 68) by 14 years (P < 0.001). The length of hospital stay was significantly (P < 0.001) longer for patients with CDAD (16.9 vs. 3.89 days). No differences (P = 0.306) were found in the response times for CDAD patients treated with either oral metronidazole (n = 39) or oral vancomycin (n = 48). The mean response time was, however, significantly longer in the CDAD patients admitted from NHs (4.2 days) compared with those admitted from the community (2.5 days), although the former patients were older and had significantly more comorbidity (P < 0.001). The mean cost per one treated-case of CDAD (bed, laboratory requests and treatment therapy) was calculated as pound2860.


Patients admitted from NHs are at increased risk of development of CDAD; receiving cefotaxime or cefuroxime axetil (oral form), being elderly and being female are risk factors for the development of CDAD. Treatment of CDAD with oral metronidazole or oral vancomycin gives rise to similar response times and efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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