Extraintestinal Clostridium difficile: 10 Years' Experience at a Tertiary-Care Hospital

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To determine the clinical characteristics of patients with extraintestinal Clostridium difficile (ECD).

Material and Methods

All cultures obtained during a 10.5-year period (from Jan. 1, 1985, to Jun. 30, 1995) at a tertiary-care hospital were retrospectively examined. The medical records of patients from whom ECD was isolated were then reviewed.


Fourteen patients from whom ECD was cultured were identified. Thirteen of these patients (93%) had underlying systemic disease. All but one patient had recent exposure to antibiotics, and all had major bowel pathologic conditions. Nine patients had colon perforation. Of the eight patients in whom the colonic mucosa was directly inspected at operation or endoscopy, only two had evidence of pseudomembranous colitis. Five patients (36%) had documentation of recent diarrhea. ECD was isolated from intraperitoneal sites (in nine patients), blood cultures (in three), a perianal abscess, and a prosthetic hip joint. In 13 patients (93%), the infection was polymicrobial. Seven of the 13 inpatients (54%) survived to dismissal.


C. difficile is a rare isolate outside of the gastrointestinal tract. ECD is found in patients with systemic illness who have been hospitalized (usually for an extended period), have intestinal pathologic conditions, and have received antibiotics. The isolation of ECD portends a poor prognosis.

Mayo Clin Proc 1998;73


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