Patient Care

Updated Guideline for Acute Diarrheal Infection


 

Clinical Question: What are current recommendations for diagnosis, management, and prevention of acute gastrointestinal infection in immune-competent adults?

Background: Acute diarrheal infection is a leading cause of healthcare visits and lost quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 47.8 million cases annually, with a healthcare economy burden of $150 million.

Study Design: American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) practice guideline.

Setting: Expert panel.

Synopsis: Stool diagnostic studies may be used for dysentery with moderate-severe disease and symptoms lasting more than seven days (strong recommendation, low level of evidence). Traditional diagnostic methods in most cases fail to reveal etiology (strong recommendation, low level of evidence). Treatment with probiotics or prebiotics is not recommended (strong recommendation, moderate level of evidence). Bismuth subsalicylates may be considered for prophylaxis against traveler’s diarrhea (strong recommendation, high level of evidence). Short-term antibiotic chemoprophylaxis also may be considered for high-risk groups (strong recommendation, high level of evidence). Empiric antimicrobial therapy is not recommended except in cases of traveler’s diarrhea (strong recommendation, high level of evidence). Loperamide may be used as an adjunct to antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea (strong recommendation, moderate level of evidence).

Bottom Line: ACG acute diarrheal illness guidelines have been updated. Few recommendations are strong, and very few have high levels of evidence.

Citation: Riddle MS, DuPont HL, Conner BA. ACG clinical guideline: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of acute diarrheal infections in adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016;111(5):602-622.

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