Struggling with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections: is donor faeces the solution?

Euro Surveill. 2009 Aug 27;14(34):19316. doi: 10.2807/ese.14.34.19316-en.


Patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) in hospitals and the community constitute an increasing treatment problem. While most patients with a first infection respond to either metronidazole or oral vancomycin, therapy in recurrent C. difficile infections tends to fail repeatedly. Lack of alternative treatment options can be a tremendous burden, both to patients and their treating physicians. Most guidelines recommend prolonged oral vancomycin pulse and or tapering schedules, but evidence-based treatment strategies are lacking. The role of immunoglobulins, whey prepared from vaccinated cows, probiotics or other antibiotics is unclear. Since 1958 several case series and case reports describe a treatment strategy where faecal infusions are successfully given for the treatment of recurrent CDI. Restoring intestinal flora has been historically thought of as the mechanism responsible for cure in these patients. In the literature, more than 150 patients have received faeces from a healthy donor, either infused through an enema, or through a nasoduodenal or nasogastric tube. We summarise the literature regarding treatment with donor faeces for recurrent CDI, and introduce the FECAL trial, currently open for inclusion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides difficile*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / epidemiology*
  • Enterocolitis, Pseudomembranous / prevention & control*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Parenteral*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Tissue Donors*
  • Treatment Outcome