BACKGROUND - Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) can cause severe disease and death, especially in older adults. A better understanding of risk factors for adverse outcomes is needed. This study tests the hypotheses that infection with specific ribotypes and presence of stool toxins independently associate with severity and constructs predictive models of adverse outcomes.
METHODS - Cases of non-recurrent CDI were prospectively included after positive stool tests for toxins A and/or B by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or tcdB by polymerase chain reaction. Outcomes included severe CDI (intensive care unit admission, colectomy, or death attributable to CDI within 30 days of diagnosis) and 30-day all-cause mortality. Adjusted models were developed to test hypotheses and predict outcomes.
RESULTS - In total, 1144 cases were included. The toxin EIA was positive in 37.2% and 35.6% of patients were of age >65 years. One of the 137 unique ribotypes was ribotype 027 (16.2%). Detectable stool toxin did not associate with outcomes. Adjusting for covariates, including age, Ribotype 027 was a significant predictor of severe CDI (90 cases; odds ratio [OR], 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-2.89; P = .037) and mortality (89 cases; OR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.19-3.43; P = .009). Concurrent antibiotic use associated with both outcomes. Both multivariable predictive models had excellent performance (area under the curve >0.8).
CONCLUSIONS - Detection of stool toxin A and/or B by EIA does not predict severe CDI or mortality. Infection with ribotype 027 independently predicts severe CDI and mortality. Use of concurrent antibiotics is a potentially modifiable risk factor for severe CDI.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.