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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Jul 12;13:316. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-316.

Derivation and validation of a simple, accurate and robust prediction rule for risk of mortality in patients with Clostridium difficile infection.



Clostridium difficile infection poses a significant healthcare burden. However, the derivation of a simple, evidence based prediction rule to assist patient management has not yet been described.


Univariate, multivariate and decision tree procedures were used to deduce a prediction rule from over 186 variables; retrospectively collated from clinical data for 213 patients. The resulting prediction rule was validated on independent data from a cohort of 158 patients described by Bhangu et al. (Colorectal Disease, 12(3):241-246, 2010).


Serum albumin levels (g/L) (P = 0.001), respiratory rate (resps /min) (P = 0.002), C-reactive protein (mg/L) (P = 0.034) and white cell count (mcL) (P = 0.049) were predictors of all-cause mortality. Threshold levels of serum albumin ≤ 24.5 g/L, C- reactive protein >228 mg/L, respiratory rate >17 resps/min and white cell count >12 × 10(3) mcL were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality. A simple four variable prediction rule was devised based on these threshold levels and when tested on the initial data, yield an area under the curve score of 0.754 (P < 0.001) using receiver operating characteristics. The prediction rule was then evaluated using independent data, and yield an area under the curve score of 0.653 (P = 0.001).


Four easily measurable clinical variables can be used to assess the risk of mortality of patients with Clostridium difficile infection and remains robust with respect to independent data.

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