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Impact of Clostridium difficile colitis on 5-year health outcomes in patients with ulcerative colitis

Murthy SK, Steinhart AH, Tinmouth J, Austin PC, Daneman N, Nguyen GC. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2012; 36(11-12):1032-9. Epub 2012 Oct 14.


Background — Clostridium difficile colitis (CDC) is associated with an increased short-term mortality risk in hospitalized ulcerative colitis (UC) patients.

Aim — To determine whether CDC also impacts long-term risks of adverse health events in this population.

Methods — A population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted of UC patients hospitalized in Ontario, Canada between 2002 and 2008. Patients with and without CDC were compared on the rates of adverse health events. The primary outcomes were the 5-year adjusted risks of colectomy and death.

Results — Among 181 patients with CDC and 1835 patients without CDC, the 5-year cumulative colectomy rates were 44% and 33% (P = 0.0052) and the 5-year cumulative mortality rates were 27% and 14% (P < 0.0001) respectively. CDC was associated with a higher adjusted 5-year risk of mortality [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.40, 95% CI 1.37–4.20], but not of colectomy (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 0.90–1.54). CDC impacted mortality risk both during index hospitalization (adjusted odds ratio 8.90, 95% CI 2.80–28.3) as well as over 5 years following hospital discharge among patients who recovered from their acute illness (aHR 2.41, 95% CI 1.37–4.22). Colectomy risk was not influenced by CDC in this cohort.

Conclusion — Clostridium difficile colitis is associated with increased short-term and long-term mortality risks among hospitalized ulcerative colitis patients. As colectomy risk is not similarly impacted by Clostridium difficile colitis, factors predictive of death among C. difficile-infected ulcerative colitis patients require elucidation.

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Keywords: Gastrointestinal disorders

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