Diagnosis

How is C. diff. diagnosed?

Diagnosing a patient with C. diff.  is done by obtaining a stool specimen: Stool tests reveal the Toxins A & B produced by Clostridium difficile (C.diff) bacteria which can usually be detected in the stool sample. There are many types of lab tests (i.e., enzyme immunoassay, polymerase chain reaction PCR, and tissue culture assay).

There are hospitals that use both the EIA test and the tissue assay testing to ensure accurate results. A physician may order a Sigmoidoscopy to look for areas of inflammation and pseudomembranes in the lower colon.

Where there are concerns of complications of C.diff. infections a CT scan may be ordered to check for thickening of the walls of the colon associated with pseudomembranous colitis (3).