December 7, 2011

C. Difficile Lengthens Hospital Stays

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Clostridium difficile is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in the hospital, and these infections increase the length of stay in the hospital by six days.

Researchers used The Ottawa Hospital Data Warehouse to analyze data on 136,877 admissions to The Ottawa Hospital between July 1, 2002 and March 31, 2009. A total of 1393 patients acquired C. difficile in hospital during this time, and these patients spent 34 days in hospital compared with 8 days for patients who did not have C. difficile. However, the researchers also found that patients who became infected with C. difficile tended to have more serious illnesses and would have been more likely to stay longer in hospital anyway. When the researchers controlled for the level of illness using a mathematical model, they found that hospital-acquired C. difficile increased the length of stay in hospital by six days.

"We believe our study provides the most accurate measure yet of the impact of hospital-acquired C. difficile on length of hospital stay," lead author Dr. Alan Forster, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, was quoted as saying. "C. difficile is a very serious problem for patients and for the health care system, however the good news is that tools such as The Ottawa Hospital Data Warehouse are providing us with more accurate information about C. difficile infection than we've ever had before, and this is helping us improve our infection-prevention efforts and also analyze their cost-effectiveness."

SOURCE: CMAJ, published online December 6, 2011