Background: Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a promising therapy for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). Many patients report altered bowel habits including constipation, bloating, gas and loose stool post-FMT despite resolution of CDI, and the etiology remains unclear.
Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of adult patients with recurrent CDI who underwent FMT (1) via colonoscopy with patient-selected donor stool, (2) via colonoscopy from a universal stool bank donor, or (3) via capsules from a universal stool bank. Reassessment occurred 8 weeks post-FMT. Those cured were assessed for gastrointestinal symptoms (bloating, loose stools, constipation). Multivariate logistic regression was performed to assess predictors of post-FMT gastrointestinal symptoms.
Results: A total of 150 subjects underwent FMT for recurrent CDI, of which 68.7% (103) were female, mean age was 61.5 years±18.1 and 31 patients (20.7%) had preexisting irritable bowel syndrome. Thirty-six had FMT via colonoscopy with a patient-selected donor, 67 via colonoscopy with stool bank donors, and 47 via FMT capsules from stool bank donors. Among those cured, 41 (31.2%) had gastrointestinal symptoms post-FMT. The factors associated with symptoms included younger age (57.2 vs. 64.1 y, P=0.03), a baseline history of irritable bowel syndrome (36.6% vs. 13.3%, P=0.002) and preexisting inflammatory bowel disease (31.7% vs. 10%, P=0.002). Small bowel exposure to donor stool was not related to symptoms (63.4% vs. 62.2%, P=0.89).
Conclusions: Altered bowel habits are a consequence of CDI and are common after FMT. This study suggests that donor type and FMT delivery modality are not related to the presence of irregular gastrointestinal symptoms after FMT.