Fecal transplants prove effective as primary treatment for C. diff, study finds

Fecal transplants may be an effective first-line treatment against Clostridium difficile infections, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Four things you need to know:

1. A team of researchers led by Michael Bretthauer, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist at the University of Oslo in Norway, conducted the study at six Norwegian hospitals between 2014 and 2017. Researchers randomly assigned 20 patients with C. diff to receive either fecal transplants or antibiotics as a first-line of treatment. 

2. Five patients who received the fecal transplant were cured right away from the infection. The remaining 15 were treated with antibiotics after the fecal transplant proved less effective. However, none of the patients required another round of antibiotics to treat the C. diff infection.

"It's definitely a paradigm shift to use it earlier rather than later," Dr. Nasia Safdar, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison told The New York Times. 

3. Even though the study results favored fecal transplants, there is still not enough evidence to conclude fecal transplants are superior to antibiotics for treating C. diff.

4. Researchers plan on conducting a larger study with 200 participants later this summer.

More articles on clinical leadership and infection control: 

Study: States with nonmedical vaccine exemptions linked to lower immunization rates
NEJM corrects 5 papers with flawed statistics
Leapfrog disputes CMS' plan to remove some safety, infection stats from quality reporting

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