C. difficile lengthens hospital stays by 6 days

A new study published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) reports that hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infection increases length of stay in hospital by an average of six days.

C. difficile is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospital, and it is estimated that 10% of patients who become infected in hospital will die.

Researchers used The Ottawa Hospital Data Warehouse to analyze data on 136 877 admissions to The Ottawa Hospital between July 1, 2002 and March 31, 2009. A total of 1393 patients acquired C. difficile in hospital during this time, and these patients spent 34 days in hospital compared with 8 days for patients who did not have C. difficile. However, the researchers also found that patients who became infected with C. difficile tended to have more serious illnesses and would have been more likely to stay longer in hospital anyway. When the researchers controlled for the level of illness using a , they found that hospital-acquired C. difficile increased the length of stay in hospital by six days.

"We believe our study provides the most accurate measure yet of the impact of hospital-acquired C. difficile on length of hospital stay," says lead author Dr. Alan Forster, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. "C. difficile is a very serious problem for patients and for the , however the good news is that tools such as The Ottawa Data Warehouse are providing us with more accurate information about C. difficile infection than we've ever had before, and this is helping us improve our infection-prevention efforts and also analyze their cost-effectiveness."

In a related commentary Dr. David Enoch, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals, United Kingdom, and coauthor write that prevention and strict are important for controlling the spread of the disease. "Adhering to basic evidence-based precautions can rapidly reduce the transmission of C. difficile and its associated mortality," they state. "Surveillance is essential to assess the efficacy of interventions."

Related Stories

C. difficile and antibiotics not necessarily linked

date Oct 07, 2008

The latest study by Dr. Sandra Dial from the Research Institute of the MUHC, McGill University, and Attending Staff in the Intensive Care Unit at the Jewish General Hospital, questions the assumption held by a vast majority ...

Intervention drops hospital infection rate by 1/3

date Mar 19, 2010

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is the one of the leading pathogens causing hospital-acquired infection in the United States. It may cause diarrhea, colitis, sepsis and lead to prolonged hospitalization and death. Ma ...

Recommended for you

Chikungunya kills 25 in Colombia

date 43 minutes ago

The virus chikungunya has killed 25 people in Colombia in less than a year, the National Health Institute said Monday.

Time to move Lyme Disease Awareness Month to April?

date 11 hours ago

The month of May brings many things, among them Mother's Day, tulips, and Lyme Disease Awareness campaigns. But according to Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem ...

An explanation of wild birds' role in avian flu outbreak

date 13 hours ago

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States. The H5N2 virus has cost Midwestern turkey and chicken producers almost 13 million birds since early March, including ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.