Newer approaches in diagnosis of diarrhea in immunocompromised patients

Phillip P. Santoiemma, Michael G. Ison, Michael P. Angarone*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: This review will focus on the epidemiology and cause of diarrheal illness in solid organ transplant and stem-cell transplant population recipients with a specific focus on the role of advanced multiplex technology in the diagnosis of diarrhea within this patient population. Recent findings: A wide range of infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea have been described in immunocompromised patients. The most common infections noted are Clostridioides difficile, norovirus, and cytomegalovirus, whereas immunosuppressive drugs and mucositis are the most common noninfectious causes of diarrhea. Historically, diagnostic evaluation has been limited to an array of single pathogen assays. Newer multiplex assays have become available that allow rapid, sensitive detection of a wide range of pathogens in a single assay. These assays have improved the number of patients with a diagnosed pathogen but may identify colonizing pathogens that are not pathogenic. Studies are needed to inform the discrimination and optimal use of these newer assays. Summary: Diarrhea is a common complication in immunocompromised patients and is associated with greater morbidity and rare mortality. New diagnostics facilitate detection of recognized pathogens and may allow for improved outcomes through the use of pathogen-targeted therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • diarrhea
  • immunocompromised
  • infectious
  • multiplex
  • polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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