April 25, 2011

Bowel Disease + Infection = Risky Combo

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a greater risk of dying if they become infected with Clostridium difficile, according to a new study.

IBD, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, causes symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Patients with the condition are often sent to the hospital when they experience severe symptoms. The C. difficile infection is not usually fatal in people who are not already severely ill or elderly.

British researchers examined statistics on patient admissions between 2002 and 2008. They found that IBD patients who contract C. difficile in the hospital are six-times more likely to die in the hospital compared to patients who are admitted for IBD alone. The mortality rate for IBD patients with C. difficile at 30 days was 25 percent compared to 3 percent for patients with IBD alone.

Results also showed that patients with IBD who contracted C. difficile stayed in the hospital longer. The median length of stay was 26 days for IBD patients with C. difficile compared to five days for patients with just IBD.

"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," Dr Sonia Saxena, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, April 2011