How Far Would You Go To Cure A C. Difficile Infection: Fecal Transplant?

How far would you go to cure a C. diff infection? For those who have experienced the suffering associated with such infections, the answer is probably as far as possible. This question brings light to an increasingly promising, yet somewhat controversial treatment for C. diff: the fecal transplant. Just as the name suggests, this treatment utilizes healthy stool from a donor to restore the bacterial balance in the C.diff patient’s G.I. tract. As unappealing as this treatment might sound, it appears to be highly effective.

A recent study investigating the public perception of the treatment suggests that while most individuals do view the treatment as rather off-putting, most would utilize the procedure if necessary. This is especially true in cases where the procedure is recommended by the patient’s doctor. This small study is helping researchers to better understand the reasons behind some doctors’ refusal to utilize fecal transplants as a treatment method. Such doctors generally blame the patient’s own refusal to undergo the procedure as the main reason for not embracing the option.

There are three different methods that can be used to introduce donor stool into the recipient’s system, all of which involve stool that is diluted with saline. The first method requires the insertion of a tube through the nostril and down the esophagus, where the transplant matter is allowed to drip into the stomach. Another option involves inserting the transplant material into the lower bowel through a sort of reverse enema procedure. Finally, another method pumps the matter into the intestine using a scope, as used for colonoscopies.

Regardless of which method is used, evidence suggests that upwards of 90 percent of individuals suffering from C. diff infections are reportedly cured by fecal transplants. In most cases, only one transplant is required. This is extremely promising, considering the fact that antibiotic misuse and overuse play such an important role in the development and onset of many C. diff infections. Such estimates are so far only based on case studies, as no randomized controlled trials have been published. While several randomized controlled studies are expected to soon be released, a problem researchers are running into involves finding patients willing to participate. This is not because of the grossness of the procedure, but rather because those who have endured such suffering do not want to take the chance that they could be placed in the control group, meaning that they would receive a placebo rather than the actually treatment.

While fecal transplants may not be the most appealing topic to discuss, there is no doubt that such procedures are a promising way to combat the destructiveness and suffering associated with C. diff. Taking into consideration how serious of an issue antibiotic resistance is becoming, fecal transplants provide a possible alternative to antibiotic treatments. This may not be a topic that you want to discuss over dinner with friends, but at the end of the day, it is a major step in the fight against C. diff.

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2 Responses to “How Far Would You Go To Cure A C. Difficile Infection: Fecal Transplant?”

  1. Yucca Ann says:

    My Sister had her leg cut off to halt MRSA. People who have MRSA would go a long ways to get rid of this monstrous thing.

  2. […] but so far research suggests it is extremely effective in combatting C. diff. In a recent blog post for MRSAid, I discuss the public perception of fecal transplants, and also their effectiveness. […]

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