Clinical predictors of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection in out-patients

R. Shivashankar, S. Khanna, P. P. Kammer, W. Scott Harmsen, A. R. Zinsmeister, L. M. Baddour, D. S. Pardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) recurs in 20-30% of patients. Aim To describe the predictors of recurrence in out-patients with CDI. Methods Out-patient cases of CDI in Olmsted County, MN residents diagnosed between 28 June 2007 and 25 June 2010 were identified. Recurrent CDI was defined as recurrence of diarrhoea with a positive C. difficile PCR test from 15 to 56 days after the initial diagnosis with interim resolution of symptoms. Patients who had two positive tests within 14 days were excluded. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the association of clinical variables with time to recurrence of CDI. Results The cohort included 520 out-patients; 104 had recurrent CDI (cumulative incidence of 17.5% by 30 days). Univariate analysis identified increasing age and antibiotic use to be associated with recurrent CDI. Severe CDI, peripheral leucocyte count and change in serum creatinine >1.5-fold were not. In a multiple variable model, concomitant antibiotic use was associated with risk of recurrent CDI (HR = 5.4, 95% CI 1.6-17.5, P = 0.005), while age (HR per 10 year increase = 1.1, 95% CI 0.9-1.3, P = 0.22); peripheral leucocyte count >15 × 109/L (HR = 1.0, 95% CI 0.5-2.1, P = 0.92); and change in serum creatinine greater than 1.5-fold (HR = 0.8, 95% CI 0.4-1.5, P = 0.44) were not. Conclusions Antibiotic use was independently associated with a dramatic risk of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection in an out-patient cohort. It is important to avoid unnecessary systemic antibiotics in patients with Clostridium difficile infection, and patients with ongoing antibiotic use should be monitored closely for recurrent infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)518-522
Number of pages5
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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