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To determine the prevalence of Clostridium difficile colonization among patients who meet the 2017 IDSA/SHEA C. difficile infection (CDI) Clinical Guideline Update criteria for the preferred patient population for C. difficile testing.
Tertiary-care hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
Patients whose diarrheal stool samples were submitted to the hospital’s clinical microbiology laboratory for C. difficile testing (toxin EIA) from August 2014 to September 2016.
Electronic and manual chart review were used to determine whether patients tested for C. difficile toxin had clinically significant diarrhea and/or any alternate cause for diarrhea. Toxigenic C. difficile culture was performed on all stool specimens from patients with clinically significant diarrhea and no known alternate cause for their diarrhea.
A total of 8,931 patients with stool specimens submitted were evaluated: 570 stool specimens were EIA positive (+) and 8,361 stool specimens were EIA negative (−). Among the EIA+stool specimens, 107 (19% of total) were deemed eligible for culture. Among the EIA− stool specimens, 515 (6%) were eligible for culture. One EIA+stool specimen (1%) was toxigenic culture negative. Among the EIA− stool specimens that underwent culture, toxigenic C. difficile was isolated from 63 (12%).
Most patients tested for C. difficile do not have clinically significant diarrhea and/or potential alternate causes for diarrhea. The prevalence of toxigenic C. difficile colonization among EIA− patients who met the IDSA/SHEA CDI guideline criteria for preferred patient population for C. difficile testing was 12%.
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