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Dis Colon Rectum. 2009 Mar;52(3):400-5. doi: 10.1007/DCR.0b013e31819a69aa.

Risk factors for mortality following emergency colectomy for fulminant Clostridium difficile infection.

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University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.



This study evaluated risk factors for mortality after emergency colectomy for fulminant Clostridium difficile infection.


Retrospective study of 130 cases of Clostridium difficile infection that required a colectomy between 1994 and 2007 in four hospitals of Quebec, Canada. Primary outcome was 30-day mortality.


Twenty-five cases underwent colectomy in 1994 to 2002, 41 in 2003, 40 in 2004, and 24 in 2005 to 2007. Common indications were septic shock (41 percent) and nonresponse to medical treatment (39 percent). Overall, 30-day mortality was 37 percent. Mortality increased with age but was not influenced by comorbidities burden. Mortality correlated with preoperative lactate (< or =2.1 mmol/L: 26 percent; 2.2-4.9 mmol/L: 52 percent; > or =5.0 mmol/L: 75 percent, P < 0.001), leukocytosis (<20.0 x 10(9)/L: 32 percent; 20.0-49.9 x 10(9)/L: 33 percent; > or =50.0 x 10(9)/L: 73 percent, P = 0.008), albumin (> or =25 g/L: 19 percent; 15-24 g/L: 38 percent; <15 g/L: 52 percent, P = 0.04) and renal failure. In multivariate analysis, risk factors for mortality were age (per year, adjusted odds ratio: 1.03, 95 percent confidence interval: 1.00-1.06), preoperative lactate greater than or equal to 5.0 mmol/L (adjusted odds ratio: 10.32, 95 percent confidence interval: 2.59-41.1), leukocytosis greater than or equal to 50.0 x10(9)/L (adjusted odds ratio: 3.68, 95 percent confidence interval: 0.92-14.8) and albumin less than 15 g/L (adjusted odds ratio, 6.57, 95 percent confidence interval: 1.31-33.1).


Incidence of Clostridium difficile infection-related emergency colectomies increased 20-fold during the epidemic. Postoperative mortality can be predicted by simple laboratory parameters. Three-fourths of patients with leukocytosis greater or equal to 50.0 x10(9)/L or lactate greater or equal to 5.0 mmol/L died. When possible, emergency colectomy should be performed earlier.

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