Background: Current guidelines for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) recommend vancomycin enemas for patients with adynamic ileus. There is significant variability in guideline recommendations for vancomycin dose and enema volume and whether a retention enema should be used. The most recent (2017) guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America/Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America recommend rectal instillation of 500 mg of vancomycin in 100 mL of physiologic saline every 6 hours as a retention enema. Methods: Published studies regarding vancomycin enema use in CDI (1990-present) were reviewed to compare drug dose, volume, and whether a retention enema was used in order to determine the efficacy and make recommendations for optimal dosing. Results: Case series with higher vancomycin dose, higher enema volume, and use of retention enema demonstrated greater efficacy. Use of smaller volumes and lower doses (100 mL; 125-250 mg q 6 hours) demonstrated no efficacy of intracolonic vancomycin. Conclusion: We recommend revision of the current CDI guideline recommendations for patients with adynamic ileus to the following: Vancomycin per rectum (500 mg in a volume of 500 mL q 6 hours) by retention enema (18F Foley catheter with 30-cc balloon inserted into the rectum, balloon inflated, solution instilled, and catheter clamped for 60 minutes) for optimal efficacy.
Keywords: infection; colitis; ileus; retention enema; vancomycin; vancomycin enema.