There are risks for acquiring a C. difficile infection (CDI).
The risks range from the overuse of Antibiotics, Immunosuppressed patients, prolonged hospital stays, being a patient in a long-term care facility, and for the senior population.
There may also be a risk for the surgical patients and the following study explains the study and the results:
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A lengthy study of four surgical specialties has determined that Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a major risk factor for postoperative patients, although incidences varied.
Although it has been shown that CDI is associated with increased cost, morbidity and mortality in patients after surgery, this is the first to examine C. difficile rates across multiple surgical specialties (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2017:1-4. doi: 10.1017/ice.2017.158).
“This study has great importance as the landscape of repayment for elective surgical procedures changes,” said the study’s lead author, James Bernatz, MD, a surgeon with the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitative Medicine at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, in Madison. “With more surgeries being reimbursed as bundled payments, hospitals are pressured to limit costs. As C. diff infection has been found to increase length of stay by one week and double the cost of care, it is clearly a postoperative complication to be avoided.”
Dr. Bernatz and his colleagues conducted the study at a 592-bed tertiary care academic center. They used the hospital’s quality improvement database to review admissions to the orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, trauma surgery and general surgery units from January 2014 through July 2016. Those patients who underwent an inpatient surgical procedure, and did not meet the exclusion criteria, were surveyed.
Case patients were defined as those who underwent an inpatient procedure and subsequently developed a health care–associated CDI, which was defined as a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result for C. difficile toxin gene recorded more than 72 hours after admission and within 12 weeks of discharge.
They found 52 cases of CDI among 11,310 surgical admissions to four hospital units: general surgery, neurology, orthopedics and trauma. In all 52 cases, patients had a PCR-positive test result more than 72 hours after admission and within 12 weeks of discharge, making the incidence rate 0.80 cases per 1,000 patient-days. The trauma unit had the highest rate at 9.5 CDI cases per 1,000 admissions (11 cases over 1.160 admissions during the study period). General surgery had 30 cases among 3,447 admissions for a rate of 8.7; orthopedics had six cases among 4,339 admissions for a rate of 1.4; and neurology had five cases among 2,364 admissions for a rate of 2.1.
A number of risk factors were surveyed, including the use of antibiotics.
Regarding antibiotic use, the researchers found that the odds of CDI increased 3.34-fold when the perioperative antibiotic is continued more than 24 hours after surgery, outside of the perioperative window. Antibiotic use, other than the perioperative antibiotic, while in the hospital also was associated with 2.2 times greater odds of CDI. And exposure to antibiotics as long as six months before surgery increases the odds of CDI more than threefold.
“Although the surgeon cannot necessarily control the antibiotics prescribed to their patients in the year leading up to surgery, they can control antibiotic administration in the perioperative and postoperative period,” Dr. Bernatz said. “Antibiotics should be limited to one prophylactic preoperative dose, unless 24 hours of antibiotics are indicated. In the immediate postoperative period, antibiotics should be used judiciously.”
Other significant risk factors included number of hospital admissions in the past year and proton pump inhibitor or histamine type 2 receptor blocker use in the previous six months. “Previous studies have shown a correlation between CDI and hospital admission in the previous 3 months,” the researchers wrote. “Our study reports that this association extends to 12 months. We found that the number of hospital admissions in the past year increases the odds of CDI by 133% for each admission.”
A higher American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification also was a significant risk factor for CDI; ASA IV or V patients were 15 times more likely to develop CDI than those with ASA class I or II disease, according to the researchers.
Dr. Bernatz said additional research is needed to further reveal these links. “Other studies could examine the rate of C. diff infection between operations within one subspecialty to determine if certain operative variables or patient characteristics affect the postoperative risk of C. diff infection,” he said.