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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 93

of 'Clostridium difficile infection in adults: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis'

Impact of Clostridium difficile on inflammatory bowel disease.
Ananthakrishnan AN, Binion DG
Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Oct;4(5):589-600.
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been increasing in incidence among those with underlying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is associated with substantial morbidity, the need for surgery and even mortality. The similar clinical presentation between CDI and a flare of underlying IBD makes prompt diagnosis essential to prevent deterioration which would accompany an escalation of immunosuppression in the absence of appropriate antibiotic therapy. Classical risk factors (antibiotic or healthcare exposure) or clinical findings (pseudomembranes) may not be found in many IBD patients with CDI and should not be considered essential for entertaining the diagnosis. Enzyme immunoassays detecting both toxins A and B remain the most widely used test for diagnosis and have acceptable sensitivity, but may require testing of multiple samples in select situations. Both vancomycin and metronidazole appear to be effective and treatment with oral vancomycin is preferred in those with severe disease, including those who require hospitalization. Appropriate infection control measures are essential to restrict patient-to-patient spread within healthcare environments and to prevent recurrences. Several novel therapies are currently under study, including new antibiotic agents and monoclonal antibodies targeted against the toxins. There is a need to broaden these studies to the IBD population. There is also the need to prospectively examine whether CDI has long-term disease-modifying consequences in those with underlying IBD.
Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.