Patient Care

Risk-Prediction Model for Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection


Clinical question: What are the risk factors identified at the onset of illness that are associated with recurrent C. diff infection?

Background: After initial infection, 10%-25% of patients experience recurrent C. diff infection (CDI). The identification of patients at high risk of recurrence would be beneficial for therapeutic decision making.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Large, urban, academic medical center.

Synopsis: Authors included 4,196 patients with an initial infection, defined by a positive C. diff toxin assay and unformed stools. A repeat positive toxin within 42 days of completing treatment for the initial infection represented recurrent CDI. Multiple characteristics were examined to identify risks of recurrent infection, including demographics and those related to acute and chronic disease. A logistic regression model was used to identify risk factors for recurrence.

Four hundred twenty-five patients (10.1%) had recurrent infection. Age, fluoroquinolone and high-risk antibiotic use, community-acquired healthcare-associated infection, multiple hospitalizations, and gastric acid suppression were found to predict recurrent infection through multivariate analysis.

Limitations of the study included potential confounding, use of observational data, and generalizability, given the urban academic medical center setting. This prediction model differs from previously developed models in that it identifies factors present at the onset of infection.

Bottom line: Multiple factors identified at the onset of illness can predict CDI recurrence.

Citation: Zilberberg MD, Reske K, Olsen M, Yan Y, Dubberke ER. Development and validation of a recurrent Clostridium difficile risk-prediction model. J Hosp Med. 2014;9(7):418-423.

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