Incidence Rates and Risk Factors of Clostridioides difficile Infection in Solid Organ and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 19;6(4):ofz086. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofz086. eCollection 2019 Apr.


Background: Transplant recipients are an immunologically vulnerable patient group and are at elevated risk of Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) compared with other hospitalized populations. However, risk factors for CDI post-transplant are not fully understood.

Methods: Adults undergoing solid organ (SOT) and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) from January 2010 to February 2017 at Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, were retrospectively included. Using nationwide data capture of all CDI cases, the incidence and risk factors of CDI were assessed.

Results: A total of 1687 patients underwent SOT or HSCT (1114 and 573, respectively), with a median follow-up time (interquartile range) of 1.95 (0.52-4.11) years. CDI was diagnosed in 15% (164) and 20% (114) of the SOT and HSCT recipients, respectively. CDI rates were highest in the 30 days post-transplant for both SOT and HSCT (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 6.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.37-10.10; and aIRR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.83-4.43, respectively, compared with 31-180 days). For SOT recipients, pretransplant CDI and liver and lung transplant were associated with a higher risk of CDI in the first 30 days post-transplant, whereas age and liver transplant were risk factors in the later period. Among HSCT recipients, myeloablative conditioning and a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index were associated with a higher risk of CDI in the early period but not in the late period.

Conclusions: Using nationwide data, we show a high incidence of CDI among transplant recipients. Importantly, we also find that risk factors can vary relative to time post-transplant.

Keywords: CDI; Clostridioides difficile infection; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; solid organ transplantation.