Meta-analysis to assess risk factors for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection

J Hosp Infect. 2008 Dec;70(4):298-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2008.08.012. Epub 2008 Oct 31.


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of hospital-acquired diarrhoea. It is estimated that 15-20% of patients experience recurrence of CDI. A limited number of studies have looked at the risk factors for recurrent CDI. We conducted a meta-analysis of observational studies and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to assess risk factors for recurrent CDI. Studies were identified using the PubMed database and search terms 'Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea' or 'pseudomembranous colitis'. Both observational studies and RCTs were included. In all, 1215 studies were identified of which 48 met the inclusion criteria. Twelve studies involving 1382 patients with CDI met the complete eligibility requirements. Odds ratios and information on study quality were abstracted by two investigators independently. To be included in the analysis, each risk factor was required to be evaluated by at least three separate studies. Continued use of non-C. difficile antibiotics after diagnosis of CDI (OR: 4.23; 95% CI: 2.10-8.55; P<0.001), concomitant receipt of antacid medications (OR: 2.15; 95% CI: 1.13-4.08; P=0.019), and older age (OR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.11-2.36; P=0.0012) were significantly associated with increased risk of recurrent CDI. Significant prognostic risk factors were identified as risk factors for CDI recurrence. Additional or novel interventions may be required for these patients to prevent CDI recurrence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clostridioides difficile*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / drug therapy
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / epidemiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / microbiology
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents