Current role of surgery for the treatment of fulminantClostridium difficilecolitis

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This review discusses the current status and progress in studies on fulminant Clostridium difficile colitis (FCDC), including the definition, risk factor, diagnostic role of CT, surgical treatment, postoperative mortality, and new therapeutic strategy.

Data sources

A literature search was conducted mainly in Medline and PubMed published in English between January 2000 and May 2011. The search terms were “fulminant Clostridium difficile colitis”, “treatment””, “surgery” and “mortality”.


Recent studies show that the overall mortality rate for FCDC remains high despite early surgical intervention. It has been difficult to identify the real value for surgical intervention in patients with FCDC due to the absence of prospective, randomized studies. Early recognition of patients with FCDC will help a clinician decide the need for treatment in an intensive care setting, multi-disciplinary consultation, and appropriate therapeutic selection. Some studies emphasize the importance of early recognition and emergent surgery at a less severe stage. Monoclonal antibody therapy and intravenous immunoglobulin treatment may be useful for the treatment of FCDC.


Present studies do not provide strong evidence for guiding the surgical treatment of FCDC; hence, creation of collaborative research networks is crucial in order to undertake large prospective multi-center studies for improvement in overall survival.

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