Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.
Medicine Department, School of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Madrid, Spain.
Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain.
CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES CB06/06/0058), Madrid, Spain.
Patients with cirrhosis are at high risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Rifaximin is commonly used in cirrhotic patients as prophylaxis for hepatic encephalopathy (HE). Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of rifaximin in the treatment of CDI; however, resistance to rifaximin has also been reported. Few studies have assessed the risk of developing CDI in cirrhotic patients receiving rifaximin. Our objective was to assess the incidence and characteristics of CDI in cirrhotic patients, especially in those who received rifaximin.
We assessed the incidence and clinical characteristics of CDI in cirrhotic patients over a 6-year period in our hospital. Medical charts were retrospectively reviewed. Ribotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of all strains against rifaximin was performed.
A total of 388 cirrhotic patients were included, of whom 127 patients had at least 1 episode of diarrhea in which a sample was sent to the laboratory. CDI was detected in 46 patients. Fourteen patients (30.4%) were receiving rifaximin as prophylaxis for HE. The main ribotypes detected were 001 (30.4%), followed by 014 (19.6%). Overall resistance to rifaximin was 34.1% and it was 84.6% in patients who had received rifaximin. Multivariate analysis showed that rifamycin therapy and ribotype 001 were significant risk factors for having a rifaximin-resistant C. difficile strain.
A high percentage of CDI cases were detected in cirrhotic patients receiving rifaximin, mostly owing to selection of rifaximin-resistant C. difficile strains. Clinicians should be aware of the risk of CDI in cirrhotic patients, even in those receiving rifaximin.