What differential diagnoses should be considered in suspected Clostridium difficile (C diff) colitis?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: Faten N Aberra, MD, MSCE; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Although C difficile infection (CDI) is a well-recognized cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, other infectious (eg, salmonellosis, shigellosis) and noninfectious causes for diarrhea should also be considered.

C difficile colitis should be considered in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Patients with IBD have several risk factors that put them at an increased risk for CDI, including immune system impairment due to immunomodulator or biologic therapy, exposure to antibiotics, and frequent hospitalizations. The diagnosis of CDI is confirmed when the cytotoxin is present in the patient’s stool sample.


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