The Epidemiology and Clinical Features of Clostridium difficile Infection in Liver Transplant Recipients

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Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is common after liver transplantation (LT); however, few studies have examined the risk factors, clinical manifestations, and outcomes of CDI in this population.


A retrospective study of adults who underwent LT between January 1, 2011, and April 4, 2013, at The Mount Sinai Hospital was conducted. Potential risk factors were evaluated via univariate and multivariable analysis to determine predictors of CDI in this population. The clinical manifestations of CDI and patient outcomes were also reviewed.


Clostridium difficile infection occurred in 27 (14%) of 192 patients after LT. In multivariable analysis, CDI was associated with having a model for end-stage liver disease score of 20 or greater (hazards ratio, 2.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.29-6.52; P = 0.010), and receiving a LT from a living donor (hazards ratio, 3.77; 95% confidence interval, 1.47-9.67; P = 0.006). Forty-one percent of CDI cases occurred within 1 week of LT. Seven percent of patients with CDI had a serum white blood cell count greater than 12 000 cells per μL, and 26% had a temperature greater than 38.0°C. After treatment 6 (22%) patients developed CDI relapse, and all were successfully treated. No patients died of CDI after a mean follow-up time of 1.8 years; however, overall survival was significantly lower among those with CDI (78% vs 92%; P = 0.033).


Clostridium difficile infection after LT was associated with higher model for end-stage liver disease scores and receiving a LT from a living donor. Clostridium difficile infection often occurred soon after LT and was infrequently associated with leukocytosis or fever. Clostridium difficile infection in LT recipients was associated with lower overall survival.

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