Early Rescue from Acute Severe Clostridium Difficile: A Novel Treatment Strategy

Biniam Kidane, Kalvin Lung, Greig McCreery, Chadia El-Khatib, Michael C. Ott, Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro, Chris Vinden, Daryl Gray, Neil G. Parry, Kenneth A. Leslie, Tina S. Mele*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Severe Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) can lead to significant impediments to effective treatment. We developed a novel treatment protocol utilizing bedside gastrointestinal lavage (GIL) for the management of patients with severe, complicated CDI. We describe the development and early outcomes of non-operative bedside GIL in hospitalized patients with severe, complicated CDI following the Idea, Development, Exploration, Assessment, Long Term Study (IDEAL) framework at the Idea stage. We compared our results with those of a cohort of patients managed with colectomy. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of hospitalized patients with severe, complicated CDI who failed conventional medical therapy and were referred for surgical consultation at two academic tertiary-care hospitals between January 2009 and January 2015. After surgical assessment, the attending surgeon decided to proceed either with bedside GIL or directly to colectomy. Bedside GIL involved nasojejunal tube insertion followed by flushing with 8 L of polyethylene glycol 3350/electrolyte solution over 48 h. Both patient groups received standard medical treatment with vancomycin 500 mg q 6 h enterally and metronidazole 500 mg intravenously three times daily for 14 d. The main outcomes of interest were the incidence of colectomy, complications, and mortality rate. Results: Nineteen and seventeen patients underwent GIL and direct colectomy, respectively. There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of demographics, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, disease severity, need for intensive care unit admission, mechanical ventilation, vasopressor use, serum lactate concentration, or proportion presenting with hypotension, acute kidney injury, or a white blood cell count >16,000/mcL or <4,000/mcL (p > 0.1). The in-hospital mortality rate was 26% (5/19) and 41% (7/17) for the GIL and colectomy groups, respectively (p = 0.35). Only one patient in the GIL group failed the protocol, requiring colectomy. There were no significant differences in complications in the two groups. Conclusions: Bedside GIL appeared to be safe for the treatment of patients with severe, complicated CDI who had failed conventional medical therapy. It did not appear to increase the risk of morbidity or death compared with the traditional strategy of proceeding directly to colectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Clostridium difficile infection
  • colectomy
  • gastrointestinal lavage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Early Rescue from Acute Severe Clostridium Difficile: A Novel Treatment Strategy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this