Diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) colitis: Review of the literature and a perspective in gynecologic oncology Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) colitis: Review of the literature and a perspective in gynecologic oncology



abstract:
Diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) colitis: Review of the literature and a perspective in gynecologic oncology
 

Highlights

  • Gynecologic cancer patients are at increased risk of C. difficile infection (CDI).
  • Antibiotic use increases the risk of CDI, but the role of chemotherapy is unclear.
  • Depending on prevalence, a multi-step algorithm may improve diagnostic accuracy.
  • CDI treatment and prognosis varies by disease severity and number of prior episodes.

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a major cause of nosocomial diarrhea with the potential for significant morbidity and mortality. Colonization in a susceptible individual, with risk factors such as prior antibiotic use, advanced age, or medical comorbidities, may result in symptomatic infection. Although patients with a gynecologic malignancy may be at a higher risk of developing CDI due to an increased likelihood of having one or more risk factors, data do not consistently support the idea that chemotherapy or cancer itself are independently associated with CDI. For diagnosis of CDI, we recommended using a multi-step approach, with a highly sensitive initial rapid test such as the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) or nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), followed by confirmatory testing with of the above two tests or EIA toxin A/B, which has high specificity. Treatment varies based on the severity of disease. We recommend vancomycin as first-line therapy for an initial episode of mild/moderate or severe CDI, with consideration of fidaxomicin for patients at particularly high risk for recurrence. Rectal vancomycin may play an adjunctive role for some severe cases, while surgical intervention is indicated for fulminant CDI if no improvement six or more days after initiating medical therapy. For non-severe recurrent disease, the initial treatment regimen should be repeated, while subsequent episodes are more appropriately treated with a tapered and pulsed dose of vancomycin, fidaxomicin, or fecal microbiota transplantation.

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