Frequent hospital readmissions for clostridium difficile infection and the impact on estimates of hospital-associated c. difficile burden

Courtney R. Murphy, Taliser R. Avery, Erik R. Dubberke, Susan S. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is associated with hospitalization and may cause readmission following admission for any reason. We aimed to measure the incidence of readmissions due to CDI. Design: Retrospective cohort study. patients. Adult inpatients in Orange County, California, who presented with new-onset CDI within 12 weeks of discharge. Methods: We assessed mandatory 2000-2007 hospital discharge data for trends in hospital-associated CDI (HA-CDI) incidence, with and without inclusion of postdischarge CDI (PD-CDI) events resulting in rehospitalization within 12 weeks of discharge. We measured the effect of including PD-CDI events on hospital-specific CDI incidence, a mandatory reporting measure in California, and on relative hospital ranks by CDI incidence. Results: From 2000 to 2007, countywide hospital-onset CDI (HO-CDI) incidence increased from 15 per 10,000 to 22 per 10,000 admissions. When including PD-CDI events, HA-CDI incidence doubled (29 per 10,000 in 2000 and 52 per 10,000 in 2007). Overall, including PD-CDI events resulted in significantly higher hospital-specific CDI incidence, although hospitals had disproportionate amounts of HA-CDI occurring postdischarge. This resulted in substantial shifts in some hospitals' rankings by CDI incidence. In multivariate models, both HO and PD-CDI were associated with increasing age, higher length of stay, and select comorbidities. Race and Hispanic ethnicity were predictive of PD-CDI but not HO-CDI. Conclusions: PD-CDI events associated with rehospitalization are increasingly common. The majority of HA-CDI cases may be occurring postdischarge, raising important questions about both accurate reporting and effective prevention strategies. Some risk factors for PD-CDI may be different than those for HO-CDI, allowing additional identification of high-risk groups before discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


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