Background: Faecal microbial transplant (FMT) for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI) is greatly facilitated by frozen stool banks. However, the effect of frozen storage of stool for greater than 2 months on the viability of stool bacteria is unknown and the efficacy of FMT is not clear.
Aim: To evaluate the viability of bacteria in stool frozen for up to 6 months, and the clinical efficacy of FMT with stool frozen for 2-10 months, for the treatment of rCDI.
Methods: Viability of six representative groups of faecal bacteria after 2 and 6 months of storage at -80 °C, in normal saline (NS) or 10% glycerol were assessed by culture on plate media. The clinical outcomes of 16 consecutive patients with rCDI treated with aliquots of stool frozen in 10% glycerol and stored for 2-10 months were also examined.
Results: Viability at both 2 and 6 months was similar to baseline, in specimens stored in 10% glycerol and at 2 months in stool stored in NS, but was reduced by >1 log at 6 months for Aerobes (P < 0.01), total Coliforms (P < 0.01) and Lactobacilli (P < 0.01) in NS. Using stool frozen for 2-10 months in 10% glycerol, the cure rate for rCDI was 88% with one FMT and 100% after repeat FMT in those who relapsed.
Conclusion: Stool for faecal microbial transplant to treat rCDI can be safely stored frozen in 10% glycerol for at least 6 months without loss of clinical efficacy or viability in the six bacterial groups tested.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.