New C. diff guidelines a boon to predicting patient death risk, study finds

In 2017, two organizations updated national guidelines for treating and diagnosing Clostridioides difficile infection. New research published in Open Forum Infectious Diseases validates these guideline changes, suggesting they nearly doubled hospitals' ability to predict C. difficile mortality.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America updated guidelines on assessing kidney damage caused by fluid loss in patients with severe C. difficile infections in 2017. They recommended using a single creatinine measure to determine kidney damage.

To assess the benefits of the guideline change, researchers at the University of Houston studied the outcomes of 705 patients with C. difficile infections at several hospitals in the Houston area. Patients were evaluated and diagnosed using either the original or updated recommendations.

Using the new single creatinine measurement to assess C. difficile severity was "fourfold more predictive in identifying patients likely to die during their hospitalization," study author Kevin Garey, PharmD, department chair of pharmacy practice and translational research at University of Houston's College of Pharmacy, said in a news release.

"When combined with increased white blood cell count, another severity predictor, the newly revised severity predictor was twofold better at predicting mortality," Dr. Garey said.

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Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 11 at 9:48 a.m. CST.

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