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Predictors of Mortality in Cirrhosis Inpatients With Clostridium difficile Infection

Smith, Elliot Z. MD; Northup, Patrick G. MD, MS; Argo, Curtis K. MD, MS

doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000868
Original Article: PDF Only

Background: Clostridium difficile is a bacterial pathogen associated with significant morbidity and mortality in patients with cirrhosis.

Goals: Our primary aim is to identify variables that are predictive of poor outcomes in cirrhosis patients with C. difficile infection (CDI). We also aim to further characterize the risk factors for developing CDI and risk of mortality in this patient population.

Study: A total of 200 subjects with a diagnosis of cirrhosis and CDI were matched to 200 cirrhosis inpatients without CDI. The groups were compared to evaluate variables associated with decreased survival for cirrhosis inpatients with CDI as well as risk factors for developing CDI.

Results: Cirrhosis patients with CDI were more frequently prescribed antibiotics during their hospitalization (P=0.002) and cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) (P<0.001). Preadmission proton pump inhibitor and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) prophylactic antibiotic use were not significantly different between the 2 cohorts. CDI subjects had an increased 30-day mortality (44% vs. 28.5%, P=0.034), however overall mortality was not significantly different (P=0.2). The multivariable logistic regression model demonstrated an increased 30-day and overall mortality in the CDI population was independently associated with albumin <3 g/dL and ICU admission.

Conclusions: C. difficile infections are associated with a significant increase in 30-day mortality, but not overall mortality. Risk factors of ICU admission and antibiotic exposure were associated with the diagnosis of CDI in cirrhosis patients. Hypoalbuminemia and ICU admission were found to be strong predictors of increased mortality in cirrhosis patients with CDI.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Address correspondence to: Curtis K. Argo, MD, MS, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, JPA and Lee Street, P.O. Box 800708, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0466 (e-mail:

Received December 2, 2016

Accepted May 10, 2017

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