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Medical Center 'Wages War' on C. difficile

October 19, 2010
by root
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In a study presented Tuesday at the American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 75th Annual Scientific meeting in San Antonio, researchers argued that an “all out war” on Clostridium difficile will dramatically decrease instances of the infection in a healthcare facility.

C. difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) is a major cause of morbidity and increasing healthcare costs among hospitalized patients. Infections have increased in recent years, with 500,000 cases in the United States annually and approximately 15,000 deaths each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers implemented a number of measures targeting C. difficile over a threemonth period at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, a tertiary care facility in Oklahoma City that admits approximately 26,000 patients per year and experienced an increase in C. difficile cases.

“Aimed at reducing the incidences of C. difficile infections, these measures consisted of a multifaceted attack on C. difficile, including improved prevention, early detection, review and full implementation of national infection control guidelines, and aggressive treatment measures,” researchers reported.

“In addition to standard isolation procedures, we also elicited suggestions from physicians and nurses to best ensure compliance, such as placing a trashcan near the door to avoid traversing the room after degowning, keeping an uncluttered sink area, using appropriate size gloves, and making stethoscopes easily accessible,” researchers said.

The facility also initiated a campaign to limit proton pump inhibitor use outside of critical care units and encouraged nursing staff to send stool for C. difficile toxin (CDT) testing if the infection was suspected, without waiting for physician order.

After implementing the above-mentioned interventions, incidences of CDT-positive hospitalized patients decreased by 40% at the facility, researchers reported.