Clinical management of severe, fulminant, and refractory Clostridioides difficile infection

Yao Wen Cheng, Monika Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Up to 15% of hospitalized patients with Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) develop severe CDI (SCDI) or Fulminant CDI (FCDI). Due to high rates of mortality in medically-refractory CDI cases, 30% of patients with severe infection historically require surgical intervention. However, colectomy itself is an imperfect solution because it is difficult to predict who will fail medical therapy, patients with SCDI are more likely to have underlying medical conditions that make them poor surgical candidates, and post-surgical mortality still approaches 30–50%. Areas covered: This review will serve as a clinically-based review of severe and fulminant CDI management including discussion of models to predict severe infection, emerging treatments, novel targets for therapy, and innovations in surgical management. Expert opinion: Among the most promising studies to emerge in the last decade have involved fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which is already recommended by multiple society guidelines for recurrent CDI (RCDI). In the case of SCDI/FCDI, multiple studies have safely and successfully utilized FMT to produce rates of cure in the 70–90% range. Additionally, patients who have FCDI refractory to medical therapy and are poor candidates for colectomy may benefit from FMT as salvage therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalExpert review of anti-infective therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Clostridium difficile
  • fecal microbiota transplantation
  • infectious diarrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical management of severe, fulminant, and refractory Clostridioides difficile infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this