Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis: Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Severe or Fulminant Clostridioides difficile

Dig Dis Sci. 2022 Mar;67(3):978-988. doi: 10.1007/s10620-021-06908-4. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


Background: Severe and fulminant Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. While fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has proved to be a highly effective treatment for recurrent CDI, its efficacy in severe or fulminant CDI remains uncertain.

Aims: To perform a systematic review with meta-analysis evaluating clinical outcomes and safety of FMT in severe and fulminant CDI.

Methods: A systemic review with meta-analysis was performed through comprehensive search of Embase, Medline (Ovid), trial registers, and conference abstracts through January 2020. Studies on FMT in severe and fulminant CDI were included. Meta-analysis was done with random effects models given heterogeneity to estimate rates of cure, mortality, and colectomy. Publication bias was assessed using Egger's test.

Results: Sixteen studies comprised of one randomized controlled trial, four cohort studies, and eleven case series were analyzed. In total, 676 patients underwent FMT for severe or fulminant CDI. The overall rate of clinical cure after single FMT was 61.3% (95% CI 43.2-78.0%) with 10.9% (95% CI 0.2-30.2%) of patients experiencing major adverse events. The overall pooled colectomy rate after FMT was 8.2% (95% CI 0.1-23.7%) with a pooled all-cause mortality rate after FMT of 15.6% (95% CI 7.8-25.0%).

Conclusion: Low-quality data support the use of fecal microbiota transplantation in patients with severe and fulminant Clostridioides difficile infection.

Keywords: CDI; Clostridioides difficile; Clostridium difficile; FMT; Fecal microbiota transplantation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clostridioides
  • Clostridioides difficile*
  • Clostridium Infections* / etiology
  • Clostridium Infections* / therapy
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome