CDI has been reported as the most common healthcare-associated infection in the United States. Community acquired CDI has become increasingly recognized as a growing problem. Symptoms of CDI range from diarrhea to abdominal pain and even severe, life threatening disease. CDI is contagious and can be transmitted through direct or indirect means of contact. Most patients with CDI can be treated with a single course of antibiotics. However, some patients will go on to develop recurrent episodes of CDI, in which they test positive, and must be treated with a variety of other antibiotics and often for weeks at a time. Other patients will develop persistent diarrhea even if they test negative. While the cause is not fully understood, patients who develop recurrent or refractory CDI often have a loss of the normal diversity of microbial flora in their large intestine. As a result, those patients do not have the ability to resist recurrent CDI and the infection persists or recurs.
FMT is a procedure by which extensively tested and processed healthy stool is infused into the colon of an ill patient with recurrent or refractory CDI. While this procedure is considered experimental by the FDA, it is considered to be highly effective. In fact, CDI can be cured in about 90% of patients with a single treatment. Over 500 FMT procedures have been performed world-wide, and have been found to be safe.
We, at Suburban Gastroenterology, are committed to providing the highest standards of care and state-of-the-art treatments for gastrointestinal disorders. As a result, we now offer FMT for the management of recurrent or refractory CDI. This procedure is conducted by performing a colonoscopy in order to infuse the donor stool material. Traditionally, donor specimens are obtained from a healthy, intimate partner or close family relative. However, processing and testing of these specimens can cost thousands of dollars. Our specimens are obtained from a fecal donor bank and are already prescreened and extensively tested. In fact, the testing and screening process is as rigorous, and in some cases, more rigorous than the screening and testing process for blood donors.
If you are a patient with recurrent or refractory CDI and have been on repeated or prolonged courses of antibiotics, FMT may be appropriate and curative for you. Please feel free to speak with your physician or call our office directly for consultation.