The records of 56 patients at an urban hospital who had positive blood cultures for clostridia were reviewed. Each patient was classified as immunologically normal or immunosuppressed. Data were collected on clinical history, type of clostridial bacteremia, physical and laboratory determinants of infection, therapeutic intervention, clinical course and outcome. Of the 56 patients, 22 were determined to be immunosuppressed. Among all 56 patients, 28 had a malignancy, usually gastrointestinal or hematologic in origin. Fever, leukocytosis and abdominal pain were common in both groups. Clostridial bacteremia almost always heralded clostridial septicemia. A gastrointestinal source of infection, particularly carcinoma of the colon or rectum or enterocolitis, was evident or presumed in 43 of the 56 patients. Clostridium perfringens was the most frequently isolated microorganism, but C. septicum was associated with more complications and a higher mortality rate. Septic complications and mortality were higher among the patients with immunosuppression.