Hospital Infection Raises Death Risk for Bowel
FRIDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients hospitalized for
treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a six-fold
increased risk of death if they become infected with
Clostridium difficile bacteria, a new study finds.
IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. When people
with IBD experience severe symptoms, they often require
hospitalization, note the researchers at Imperial College London
and St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust in the United Kingdom.
They examined data on IBD patients hospitalized between 2002 and
2008 and found that those infected with
C. difficile in the hospital were six times more likely to
die in the hospital than those not infected with the bacteria. The
death rate at 30 days was 25 percent for those with
C. difficile and 3 percent for those who were free of the
The researchers also found that IBD patients with
C. difficile stayed in the hospital longer (a median stay of
26 days vs. five days) and were nearly twice as likely to require
The study was published April 19 in the journal
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
C. difficile bacteria -- found in the gut in around
two-thirds of children and 3 per cent of adults -- do not cause
illness in healthy people. Broad-spectrum antibiotics can cause
problems by eliminating harmless bacteria that usually live in the
C. difficile to thrive and produce toxins that cause diarrhea
and fever. The infection, however, is rarely lethal in people who
are not already elderly or extremely ill.
"Hospitals must do everything they can to control infections such as C. difficile. We are asking for these high-risk patients to be screened for C. difficile proactively on admission to hospital so that if
they are exposed, they can be diagnosed and treated more quickly,"
study author Dr. Sonia Saxena, School of Public Health, Imperial
College London, said in a college news release.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has more about
inflammatory bowel disease.
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