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Extraintestinal Clostridium difficile Infections: A Single-Center Experience

Published:September 20, 2014DOI:



      To evaluate the clinical burden of extraintestinal Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) seen at a single institution and to characterize the management and outcomes of these rare infections.

      Patients and Methods

      A retrospective medical record review was conducted to identify patients with isolation of C difficile from extraintestinal sites from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2013. Medical records were reviewed and data, including demographic characteristics, microbiology, clinical associations, management, and infection outcomes, were abstracted.


      Overall, 40 patients with extraintestinal CDI were identified: 25 had abdominopelvic infections, 11 had bloodstream infections, 3 had wound infections, and 1 had pulmonary infection. C difficile was isolated with other organisms in 63% of cases. A total of 85% of infections were nosocomial. Factors associated with extraintestinal CDI included surgical manipulation of the gastrointestinal tract (88%), recent antibiotic exposure (88%), malignant tumors (50%), and proton pump inhibitor use (50%). Diarrhea was present in 18 patients (45%), 12 of whom had C difficile polymerase chain reaction (PCR)–positive stool samples. All isolates tested were susceptible to metronidazole and piperacillin-tazobactam. Management included both antimicrobial therapy and guided drainage or surgical intervention in all but one patient. The infection-associated mortality rate was 25%, with death a median of 16 days (range, 1-61 days) after isolation of C difficile.


      Extraintestinal CDI is uncommon and often occurs in patients with surgical manipulation of the gastrointestinal tract and well-recognized risk factors for intestinal CDI. Management of extraintestinal CDI includes both antimicrobial and surgical therapies. Extraintestinal CDI is characterized by poor outcome with high mortality.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BSI (bloodstream infection), CDI (Clostridium difficile infection), GI (gastrointestinal), IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification), MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), PCR (polymerase chain reaction), PPI (proton pump inhibitor)
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