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Flashcards in C Diff Deck (6):

What is Clostridium dificile?

Gram positive rod often encountered in hospital practice. It produces an exotoxin which causes intestinal damage leading to a syndrome called pseudomembranous colitis.


When can it become a problem?

Clostridium difficile develops when the normal gut flora are suppressed by broad-spectrum antibiotics. Clindamycin is historically associated with causing Clostridium difficile but the aetiology has evolved significantly over the past 10 years. Second and third generation cephalosporins are now the leading cause of Clostridium difficile.


What are the features of a C diff infection?

- diarrhoea
- abdominal pain
- a raised white blood cell count is characteristic
- if severe toxic megacolon may develop


How is diagnosis made?

By detecting Clostridium difficile toxin (CDT) in the stool


How is it managed?

- First-line therapy is oral metronidazole for 10-14 days
- If severe or not responding to metronidazole then oral vancomycin may be used
- For life-threatening infections a combination of oral vancomycin and intravenous metronidazole should be used


What would you see on a abdominal x-ray?

Loss of bowel wall architecture and thumb printing