Long-term gastrointestinal complications of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD)

Saurabh Sethi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. The incidence of Clostridium difficile -associated diarrhea (CDAD) is increasing worldwide likely because of increased use of broad spectrum antibiotics and the introduction of a clonal hyper-virulent strain called the BI strain. Short-term complications of CDAD include recurrent disease, requirement for colectomy, and persistent disease. However, data on the long-term consequences of CDAD are scarce. Among other infectious diseases (Shigella, Salmonella, and Campylobacter), long-term consequences such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic dyspepsia/diarrhea, and other GI effects have been noted. Since the mechanism of action of these agents is similar to C.difficile, we hypothesized that patients with CDAD have greater likelihood of developing IBS and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) in the long-term as compared to a general sample of recently hospitalized patients. Objective. To evaluate the long-term gastrointestinal complications of CDAD, (IBS, functional diarrhea, functional abdominal bloating, functional constipation and functional abdominal pain syndrome). Methods. The current study was a secondary analysis of a previously completed observational case-control outcome study. Adult CDAD patients at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston (SLEH) were followed up and interviewed by telephone six months after the initial diagnosis thereafter evaluated for the development of IBS and other FGIDs. A total of 46 patients with CDAD infection were recruited at SLEH between May-November 2007. The comparators were patients hospitalized in SLEH within one month before or after the admission of the reference case, hospital length of stay within one week longer or shorter than reference case, and age within 10 years more or less than the reference case. Cases and comparators were compared using Fisher's exact test. A p<0.05 was considered significant. Results. Thirty CDAD patients responded to the questionnaires and were compared to 40 comparators. No comparator developed a FGID, while 3 (10%) CDAD patients developed new onset IBS (p=0.07), 4 (13.3%) developed new onset Functional Diarrhea (p=0.03), and 3 (10%) developed new onset Functional Constipation (p=0.07). No patient developed Functional Abdominal Bloating and Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome. Conclusion. In this study, new onset functional diarrhea was significantly more common in patients CDAD within six months after initial infection compared to matched controls.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Sethi, Saurabh, "Long-term gastrointestinal complications of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD)" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457671.