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Clostridium difficile. Colonization and toxin production in a cohort of patients with malignant hematologic disorders


We examined 45 (80%) of 56 consecutive adult patients with malignant hematologic disorders who were hospitalized during a 15-week period at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta. Stool samples for Clostridium difficile culture and cytotoxin assay were obtained on admission and then weekly during each patient’s hospitalization. On admission, four patients had detectable C difficile in their stool samples, which was associated with prior antimicrobial use but not with prior cancer chemotherapy. One of the four patients with positive stool samples also had toxin present in the stool sample and was the only one with diarrhea. Eight (36%) of 22 patients hospitalized for one or more weeks had C difficile isolated from at least one stool specimen. The positive cultures showed no clustering in time, and no risk factors were identified for colonization. Only seven of 15 culture-positive stool samples and three of seven toxin-positive samples were associated with diarrhea.

Morris JG, Jarvis WR, Nunez-Montiel OL, Towns ML, Thompson FS, Dowell VR, Hill EO, Vogler WR, Winton EF, Hughes JM

Arch. Intern. Med. 1984 May;144(5):967-9

PMID: 6370168