Complications of C. difficile infections include:
Jul. 16, 2013
- Dehydration. Severe diarrhea can lead to a significant loss of fluids and electrolytes. This makes it difficult for your body to function normally and can cause blood pressure to drop to dangerously low levels.
- Kidney failure. In some cases, dehydration can occur so quickly that kidney function rapidly deteriorates (kidney failure).
- Toxic megacolon. In this condition, your colon becomes unable to expel gas and stool, causing it to become greatly distended (megacolon). Left untreated, your colon can rupture, causing bacteria from the colon to enter your abdominal cavity. A ruptured colon requires emergency surgery and may be fatal.
- A hole in your large intestine (bowel perforation). This is rare and results from extensive damage to the lining of your large intestine. A perforated bowel can spill bacteria from the intestine into your abdominal cavity, leading to a life-threatening infection (peritonitis).
- Death. Even mild to moderate C. difficile infections can quickly progress to a fatal disease if not treated promptly.
- Khanna S, et al. Clostridium difficile infection: New insights into treatment. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2012;87:1106.
- Rebmann T, et al. Preventing Clostridium difficile infections: An executive summary of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's elimination guide. American Journal of Infection Control. 2011;39:239.
- LaMont JT. Clostridium difficile in adults: Epidemiology, microbiology, and pathophysiology. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2013.
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- Frequently asked questions about Clostridium difficile for healthcare providers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_faqs_HCP.html. Accessed March 25, 2013.
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- Vancomycin hydrochloride. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Fidaxomicin. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Van Nood E, et al. Duodenal infusion of donor feces for recurrent Clostridium difficile. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368:407.
- Diarrhea. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#treated. Accessed March 27, 2013.
- Clostridium difficile and C. difficile toxin testing. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/cdiff/tab/test. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- Public workshop: Fecal microbiota for transplantation. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/NewsEvents/WorkshopsMeetingsConferences/ucm341643.htm. Accessed April 15, 2013.
- Steckelberg JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 16, 2013.
- Khanna S, et al. The epidemiology of community-acquired Clostridium difficile infection: A population-based study. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2012;107: 89.
- Khanna S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2013.