Are stool cultures recommended for diagnosing 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

Stool cultures are the most sensitive tests for detecting C difficile and its toxins. [5] Moreover, results of the stool cultures followed by the identification of a toxigenic culture from an experienced laboratory are the standard used for comparison with other diagnostic testing. [5] However, despite their role as the gold standard test in patients with suspected C difficile infection (CDI), stool cultures have a long turnaround time and are resource intensive. Such factors make them too slow for practical clinical decision making (to treat or not to treat) in affected patients. Consequently, in clinical practice, enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for C difficile toxin A and B is used more often.


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