Mechanical bowel preparation before colectomy is controversial for several reasons, including a theoretically increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection.
The primary aim of this study was to compare the incidence of C difficile infection among patients who underwent mechanical bowel preparation and those who did not. A secondary objective was to assess the association between C difficile infection and the use of oral antibiotics.
This was an observational cohort study.
The Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative Colectomy Project (n = 24 hospitals) participates in the American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program with additional targeted data specific to patients undergoing colectomies.
Included were adult patients (21 years and older) admitted to participating hospitals for elective colectomy between August 2007 and June 2009.
The main outcome measure was laboratory detection of a positive C difficile toxin assay or stool culture.
Two thousand two hundred sixty-three patients underwent colectomy and fulfilled inclusion criteria. Fifty-four patients developed a C difficile infection, for a hospital median rate of 2.8% (range, 0–14.7%). Use of mechanical bowel preparation was not associated with an increased incidence of C difficile infection (P = .95). Among 1685 patients that received mechanical bowel preparation, 684 (41%) received oral antibiotics. The proportion of patients in whom C difficile infection was diagnosed after the use of preoperative oral antibiotics was smaller than the proportion of patients with C difficile infection who did not receive oral antibiotics (1.6% vs 2.9%, P = .09).
The potential exists for underestimation of C difficile infection because of the study's strict data collection criteria and risk of undetected infection after postoperative day 30.
In contrast to previous single-center data, this multicenter study showed that the preoperative use of mechanical bowel preparation was not associated with increased risk of C difficile infection after colectomy. Moreover, the addition of oral antibiotics with mechanical bowel preparation did not confer any additional risk of infection.
1School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
2Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, Ann Arbor, Michigan
3Department of Surgery, Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
4Michigan Surgical Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Ann Arbor, Michigan
5Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Financial Disclosures: None reported.
Support: This research is supported by an F31NR011548 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (G.L.K.). The Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (ww.msqc.org) is supported through funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan/Blue Care Network. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Nursing Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, or Blue Care Network.
Correspondence: Arden M. Morris, M.D., M.P.H., 1500 East Medical Center Drive, TC-2124, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5343. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org