On this week’s episode we talked about one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired infections: Clostridium Difficile, or “C. Diff.” I sat down with Dr. David Dickensheets, infectious disease specialist with Infectious Disease Services of Georgia in his Cumming, GA office.
According to the CDC nearly half a million persons experienced a Clostridium difficile infection last year. Their website explains:
“Approximately 29,000 patients died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis of C. difficile. Of those, about 15,000 deaths were estimated to be directly attributable to C. difficileinfections, making C. difficile a very important cause of infectious disease death in the United States. More than 80 percent of the deaths associated with C. difficile occurred among Americans aged 65 years or older. C. difficile causes an inflammation of the colon and deadly diarrhea.
Previous studies indicate that C. difficile has become the most common microbial cause of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals and costs up to $4.8 billion each year in excess health care costs for acute care facilities alone. The new study found that 1 out of every 5 patients with a healthcare-associated C. difficile infection experienced a recurrence of the infection and 1 out of every 9 patients aged 65 or older with a healthcare-associated C. difficile infection died within 30 days of diagnosis.”
Clearly it’s a big problem. Dr. Dickensheets shared some great information on how the infection is diagnosed and why it’s so hard to eradicate from a hospital environment. He also talked about an interesting treatment approach–the fecal transplant.
That’s right, in some instances, patients have been able to resolve the infection by having fecal material from a healthy human instilled into their bowel, allowing a repopulation of normal flora bacteria that compete with the C. Diff., helping to eliminate the infection.
Dr. David Dickensheets, MD, of Infectious Disease Services of Georgia
- Doctor of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University
- Residency, Roger Williams Medical Center
- Fellowshp, Brown University
- Board Certified in Infectious Disease