Reduced Vancomycin Susceptibility in Clostridioides difficile is Associated with Lower Rates of Initial Cure and Sustained Clinical Response

Clin Infect Dis. 2024 Feb 21:ciae087. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciae087. Online ahead of print.


Background: Epidemiologic studies have shown decreasing vancomycin susceptibility among clinical Clostridioides difficile isolates, but the impact on patient outcomes is unknown. We hypothesized that reduced vancomycin susceptibility would be associated with decreased rates of sustained clinical response (SCR).

Methods: This multicenter cohort study included adults with C. difficile infection (CDI) treated with oral vancomycin between 2016-2021. C. difficile isolates underwent agar dilution vancomycin susceptibility testing, ribotyping, and Sanger sequencing of the vancomycin resistance vanR gene. Reduced susceptibility was defined as vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) >2 μg/mL. The primary outcome was 30-day SCR; secondary outcomes were 14-day initial cure, 30-day recurrence, and 30-day mortality. Exploratory analysis assessed the association between the VanR Thr115Ala polymorphism, susceptibility, and outcomes.

Results: A high proportion (34%, 102/300) of C. difficile isolates exhibited reduced vancomycin susceptibility (range: 0.5-16 μg/mL, MIC50/90 = 2/4 μg/mL). Ribotype (RT) 027 accounted for the highest proportion (77.4%, 41/53) of isolates with reduced vancomycin susceptibility. Overall, 83% (249) of patients achieved 30-day SCR. Reduced vancomycin susceptibility was associated with lower rates of 30-day SCR (76%, 78/102) than vancomycin susceptible strains (86%, 171/198; P=0.031). A significantly lower rate of 14-day initial cure was also observed among individuals infected with strains with reduced vancomycin susceptibility (89% vs. 96%; P=0.04). Reduced susceptibility remained an independent predictor of 30-day SCR in multivariable modeling (odds ratio, 0.52, 95% confidence interval 0.28-0.97; P=0.04).

Conclusions: Reduced vancomycin susceptibility in C. difficile was associated with decreased odds of 30-day SCR and lower 14-day initial cure rates in the studied patient cohort.

Keywords: Clostridioides difficile; anaerobes; antimicrobial resistance; susceptibility testing; vancomycin.