Hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infections significantly prolong hospitalizations independent of patients' baseline risk for death, but the magnitude of the effect may not be as large as some researchers have estimated, according to the authors of a retrospective study from Canada.
Patients with hospital-acquired C difficile infections spent a median of 6 days longer in the hospital than patients without infections, according to an analysis of hospital admissions between July 1, 2002, and Mar. 31, 2009, which controlled for severity of illness. The study, by Alan J. Forster, MD, and colleagues from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, was published online December 5 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Previous studies estimated that C difficile infections extend hospital stays anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, the investigators write. However, those studies did not take into account the fact that the longer patients stay in the hospital, the more likely they are to acquire C difficile.
"We found that the impact of hospital-acquired C. difficile on length of stay is more conservative than previous estimates have suggested. Nevertheless, the impact remains large, especially when one considers the aggregated impact. Future studies should incorporate a formal cost analysis and measure patient outcomes from a broader perspective," they conclude.
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Source: Medscape Medical News