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To describe the epidemiology and healthcare costs of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) identified in the outpatient setting.
Population-based, retrospective cohort study.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado and Kaiser Permanente Northwest members between June 1, 2005, and September 30, 2008.
We identified persons with incident CDI and classified CDI by whether it was identified in the outpatient or inpatient healthcare setting. We collected information about baseline variables and follow-up healthcare utilization, costs, and outcomes among patients with CDI. We compared characteristics of patients with CDI identified in the outpatient versus inpatient setting.
We identified 3,067 incident CDIs; 56% were identified in the outpatient setting. Few strong, independent predictors of diagnostic setting were identified, although a previous stay in a nonacute healthcare institution (odds ratio [OR], 1.45 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13-1.86]) was statistically associated with outpatient-identified CDI, as was age from 50 to 59 years (OR, 1.64 [95% CI, 1.18-2.29]), 60 to 69 years (OR, 1.37 [95% CI, 1.03-1.82]), and 70 to 79 years (OR, 1.36 [95% CI, 1.06-1.74]), when compared with persons aged 80-89 years.
We found that more than one-half of incident CDIs in this population were identified in the outpatient setting. Patients with outpatient-identified CDI were younger with fewer comorbidities, although they frequently had previous exposure to healthcare. These data suggest that practitioners should be aware of CDI and obtain appropriate diagnostic testing on outpatients with CDI symptoms.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2012;33(10):1031-1038