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Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of infectious nosocomial diarrhea and can be found in up to 30% of asymptomatic hospitalized patients. Our primary aim was to compare the clinical characteristics of hospitalized patients who received antibiotics and developed C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) with those of hospitalized patients who received antibiotics and did not develop the disease.
Case-control study comprising inpatients at a single institution.
Case-patients were defined as patients who had diarrhea and tested positive for C. difficile. Control-patients (matched 4:1 to case-patients) were defined as patients who received antibiotics for at least 5 days and did not develop CDAD.
On univariate analysis, nine variables were associated with CDAD. Only three of the variables, need for intensive care, length of stay, and macrolide antibiotic use, were found to be significant (P < .05) on logistic regression analysis. The odds ratios for status as a CDAD case were 3.68 (CI95, 1.44 to 9.40) for stay in the intensive care unit and 1.03 (CI95, 1.02 to 1.05) for each day of hospital stay. Receipt of macrolide antibiotics reduced risk significantly; the odds ratio was 0.23 (CI95, 0.19 to 0.87).
We identified need for intensive care and length of stay as important risk factors for the development of CDAD. We also identified macrolide antibiotic use as protective against its development. Patients receiving intensive care may represent a population to study for targeted prophylaxis.
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