Predictors of mortality after colectomy for fulminant Clostridium difficile colitis

John C. Byrn, Dipen C. Maun, Daniel S. Gingold, Donald T. Baril, Junko J. Ozao, Celia M. Divino

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132 Scopus citations


Objectives: To present, to our knowledge, the largest experience with colectomy for fulminant Clostridium difficile colitis and to propose factors significant in predicting mortality. Design: Retrospective medical record review. Setting: University teaching hospital. Patients: Seventy-three patients undergoing colectomy between 1994 and 2005 for C difficile-associated pseudomembranous colitis. Main Outcome Measures: Preoperative predictors of in-hospital mortality. Results: Seventy-three of 5718 cases (1.3%) of C difficile colitis required colectomy. Mean age was 68 years. Inhospital mortality was 34% (n=25). Eighty-six percent (n=63) of patients received a subtotal colectomy. Patients presented with diarrhea (84%;n=61), abdominal pain (75%; n=55), and ileus (16%; n=12). Mean duration of symptoms was 7 days followed by 4 days of medical treatment prior to colectomy. On univariate analysis, an admitting diagnosis other than C difficile (P=.049), vasopressor requirement (P=.001), intubation (P=.001), and mental status changes (P<.001) were significant predictors of mortality. Arterial lactate level (4.9 vs 2.4 mmol/L; P=.007) was significantly higher and length of medical management (6.4 vs 3.0 days; P=.006) was significantly longer in the mortality group. Platelet counts (169 × 103/μ L vs 261 × 103/μL [to convert to × 109/L, multiply by 1]; P=.04) were significantly lower in the mortality group. On multivariate analysis, vasopressor requirement (P=.04; odds ratio, 5.0), mental status changes (P=.002; odds ratio, 12.6), and treatment length (P=.002; odds ratio, 1.4) remained significant predictors of mortality. Conclusions: Colectomy for C difficile colitis carries a substantial mortality regardless of patient age and white blood cell count. Preoperative vasopressor requirement, mental status changes, and length of medical treatment significantly predict mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-154
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


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