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Use of frozen material for fecal transplant successfully treats C. difficile infection
Date:4/23/2014

A pilot study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may lead to greater availability and acceptability of an unusual treatment for a serious medical problem use of fecal material from healthy donors to treat recurrent diarrhea caused by the Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) bacteria. In their paper being published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the researchers report that use of prescreened frozen fecal material from donors unrelated to patients was as successful in curing recurrent C. difficile infection as was the use of fresh material reported in previous studies of what is called Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT).

"We found that delivery of a frozen, stored inoculum through a nasogastric tube is safe, acceptable to patients and as successful as delivery by colonoscopy which requires a preparatory 'clean out,' sedation or anesthesia, and is quite costly," says Elizabeth Hohmann, MD, of the MGH Infectious Diseases Division, senior author of the report. "Without this treatment option, patients with recurrent C. difficile may have chronic diarrhea limiting their quality of life and their ability to maintain weight and need to live on chronic antibiotic treatment, which is both expensive and can have other side effects."

C. difficile infection has become an increasingly serious problem, causing around 250,000 infections requiring hospitalization and 14,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Hohmann notes that from two to five patients test positive for the infection at MGH every day. In patients with recurrent or treatment-resistant infection, long-term treatment with vancomycin or other antibiotics has had limited success, with symptoms recurring up to 30 percent of the time. In fact, antibiotic treatment has the potential of making matters worse, as it kills off the beneficial normal intestinal microbes that can keep pathologic species like C. difficile
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Contact: Kristen Chadwick
kschadwick@partners.org
617-643-3907
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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