Clostridium difficile infection increases acute and chronic morbidity and mortality

Margaret A. Olsen, Dustin Stwalley, Clarisse Demont, Erik R. Dubberke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective In this study, we aimed to quantify short- and long-term outcomes of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in the elderly, including all-cause mortality, transfer to a facility, and hospitalizations.Design Retrospective study using 2011 Medicare claims data, including all elderly persons coded for CDI and a sample of uninfected persons. Analysis of propensity score-matched pairs and the entire population stratified by the propensity score was used to determine the risk of all-cause mortality, new transfer to a long-term care facility (LTCF), and short-term skilled nursing facility (SNF), and subsequent hospitalizations within 30, 90, and 365 days.Results The claims records of 174,903 patients coded for CDI were compared with those of 1,318,538 control patients. CDI was associated with increased risk of death (odds ratio [OR], 1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.74-1.81; attributable mortality, 10.9%), new LTCF transfer (OR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.67-1.82), and new SNF transfer (OR, 2.52; 95% CI, 2.46-2.58) within 30 days in matched-pairs analyses. In a stratified analysis, CDI was associated with greatest risk of 30-day all-cause mortality in persons with lowest baseline probability of CDI (hazard ratio [HR], 3.04; 95% CI, 2.83-3.26); the risk progressively decreased as the baseline probability of CDI increased. CDI was also associated with increased risk of subsequent 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year hospitalization.Conclusions CDI was associated with increased risk of short- and long-term adverse outcomes, including transfer to short- and long-term care facilities, hospitalization, and all-cause mortality. The magnitude of mortality risk varied depending on baseline probability of CDI, suggesting that even lower-risk patients may benefit from interventions to prevent CDI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


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