Medline ® Abstracts for References 6-8
of 'Clostridium difficile infection in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis'
Clostridium difficile infection in patients with unexplained leukocytosis.
Wanahita A, Goldsmith EA, Marino BJ, Musher DM
Am J Med. 2003;115(7):543.
PURPOSE: To determine whether unrecognized Clostridium difficile infection is responsible for a substantial proportion of cases of unexplained leukocytosis in a tertiary care hospital setting.
METHODS: We prospectively identified 60 patients who had unexplained leukocytosis (white blood cell count>or =15,000/mm3). Fecal specimens were tested for C. difficile toxin using an enzyme immunosorbent assay. We compared the clinical features of patients who had positive or negative assay results, as well as of 26 hospitalized control patients who did not have unexplained leukocytosis.
RESULTS: Thirty-five (58%) of the patients with unexplained leukocytosis had C. difficile toxin in at least one fecal specimen as compared with 3 (12%) of the controls (P<0.001). Symptoms of colitis were often mild or absent at the time the white blood cell count was first elevated or, if present, had not been recognized by the attending physicians. Leukocytosis resolved promptly in most patients who were treated with metronidazole. In the 25 patients (42%) who had a negative test for C. difficile toxin, leukocytosis also tended to resolve during empiric therapy withmetronidazole; some of these patients may have had C. difficile infection.
CONCLUSION: The majority of patients in our hospital who had unexplained leukocytosis had C. difficile infection. Unexplained leukocytosis in hospitalized patients should prompt a search for symptoms and signs consistent with C. difficile infection and a study to detect C. difficile. Empiric therapy with metronidazole may be effective in the appropriate epidemiologic setting.
Medical Service, Infectious Disease Section, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Leukocytosis as a harbinger and surrogate marker of Clostridium difficile infection in hospitalized patients with diarrhea.
Bulusu M, Narayan S, Shetler K, Triadafilopoulos G
Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95(11):3137.
OBJECTIVES: Clostridium difficile is the etiological agent of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and pseudomembranous colitis and is a leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea. The objective of the study was to examine if leukocytosis could be a harbinger and surrogate marker of C. difficile infection in hospitalized patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively examined the medical records of 70 hospitalized patients who presented with diarrhea of variable severity and who underwent stool examination for enteric pathogens, including C. difficile. We specifically recorded the white blood cell count and the pattern and severity of leukocytosis in two groups of patients--those who were C. difficile-positive and those who were negative.
RESULTS: Leukocytosis was common in C. difficile-positive patients, compared to in C. difficile-negative patients (mean 15,800/mm3 vs 7700/mm3, p<0.01). Review of the 35 C. difficile-positive patients revealed three patterns: Pattern A) sudden WBC increase coinciding with the onset of symptoms suggestive of C. difficile; Pattern B) unexplained leukocytosis preceding the appearance of C. difficile-related diarrhea and serving as a harbinger of the infection; and Pattern C) worsening of pre-existing leukocytosis as a surrogate marker of C. difficile infection. Treatment with metronidazole led to amelioration of symptoms and normalization of the leukocyte count in all cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Infection with C. difficile should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sudden onset of leukocytosis in hospitalized patients previously or concurrently treated with antibiotics. Doing so may obviate the need for expensive and time-consuming tests for other etiologies.
Gastroenterology Section, Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System, California 94304, USA.
Clostridium difficile ribotype does not predict severe infection.
Walk ST, Micic D, Jain R, Lo ES, Trivedi I, Liu EW, Almassalha LM, Ewing SA, Ring C, Galecki AT, Rogers MA, Washer L, Newton DW, Malani PN, Young VB, Aronoff DM
Clin Infect Dis. 2012;55(12):1661. Epub 2012 Sep 12.
BACKGROUND: Studies of Clostridium difficile outbreaks suggested that certain ribotypes (eg, 027 and 078) cause more severe disease than other ribotypes. A growing number of studies challenge the validity of this hypothesis.
METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of C. difficile infection (CDI) to test whether ribotype predicted clinical severity when adjusted for the influence of other predictors. Toxigenic C. difficile isolates were cultured from stool samples, screened for genes encoding virulence factors by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and ribotyped using high-throughput, fluorescent PCR ribotyping. We collected data for 15 covariates (microbiologic, epidemiologic, and laboratory variables) and determined their individual and cumulative influence on the association between C. difficile ribotype and severe disease. We then validated this influence using an independent data set.
RESULTS: A total of 34 severe CDI cases were identified among 310 independent cases of disease (11.0%). Eleven covariates, including C. difficile ribotype, were significant predictors of severe CDI in unadjusted analysis. However, the association between ribotypes 027 and 078 and severe CDI was not significant after adjustment for any of the other covariates. After full adjustment, severe cases were significantly predicted only by patients' white blood cell count and albumin level. This result was supported by analysis of a validation data set containing 433 independent CDI cases (45 severe cases; 10.4%).
CONCLUSIONS: Ribotype is not a significant predictor of severe CDI when adjusted for the influence of any other variables separately or in combination. White blood cell count and albumin level are the most clinically relevant predictors of severe CDI cases.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.