BACKGROUND & AIMS:
A significant fraction of patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can break the cycle of CDI recurrence and can be performed without evaluation of the colon. We evaluated the efficacy of colonoscopic FMT in patients with and without IBD, and whether we could identify IBD in patients during this procedure.
We collected clinical meta-data and colonoscopy results from 272 consecutive patients that underwent FMT for recurrent CDI at the University of Minnesota from 2008 through 2015. Patients had at least 2 spontaneous relapses of CDI following their initial episode and did not clear the infection after 1 extended antibiotic regimen. We collected random mucosal biopsies from patients' right colons to identify lymphocytic or collagenous colitis during the FMT procedure. Failure or success in clearing CDI was determined within or at 2 months after the FMT.
Of patients undergoing FMT, 15% had established IBD and 2.6% were found to have IBD during the FMT procedure. A single colonoscopic FMT cleared CDI from 74.4% of patients with IBD and 92.1% of patients without IBD (P = .0018). Patients had similar responses to FMT regardless of immunosuppressive therapy. More than one-quarter of patients with IBD (25.6%) had a clinically significant flare of IBD after FMT. Lymphocytic colitis was documented in 7.4% of patients with endoscopically normal colon mucosa; only 3 of these patients (20%) required additional treatment for colitis after clearance of CDI.
Based on an analysis of 272 patients, FMT is somewhat less effective in clearing recurrent CDI from patients with IBD, compared with patients without IBD, regardless of immunosuppressive therapy. More than 25% of patients with IBD have a disease flare following FMT. Lymphocytic colitis did not affect the outcome of FMT, but a small fraction of these patients required pharmacologic treatment after the procedure.