American College of Gastroenterology: Refractory Bacteria Respond to Fecal Transplant

Reported by Joyce Friedan / MedPage Today / November 2, 2011.

Note: This study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Note: This multi-center study suggests that colonoscopic fecal microbiota transplant is rapidly effective as treatment for refractory C. difficile infection even in patients who were elderly, debilitated, and had undergone multiple failed courses of treatment.

Washington — Transplanting fecal matter with healthy bacteria into patients with refractory Clostridium difficile infections can lead to quick relief, researchers said here.

Fecal microbiota transplant had a 91% rate of success — defined as no recurrence within three months — among 77 patients with refractory C. difficile infection, Mark Mellow, MD, of Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

The average time for resolution and improvement in diarrhea was six days; for fatigue, four weeks.

The success rate rose to 98% after six patients who failed the transplant procedure were given a two-week course of vancomycin — alone or with probiotics — or vancomycin plus an additional transplant.

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