(HealthDay News) — Patients at VA hospitals who contracted Clostridium difficile following surgery were five times more likely to die and 12 times more likely to suffer postoperative morbidity, according to findings published online Nov. 25 in JAMA Surgery.
Researchers led by Xinli Li, Ph.D., of the National Surgery Office of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), reviewed data for 468,386 surgical procedures performed over four years through the VHA. Slightly more than 1,800 of those patients developed a C. difficile infection (CDI) within 30 days of surgery, amounting to a rate of 0.4 percent per year.
The data also showed that 86 percent of surgical patients with a CDI wound up experiencing one or more complications, compared with 7.1 percent of patients without infection. In addition, 5.3 percent of surgical patients with CDI died within 30 days of their operation, compared with 1 percent of those not infected. Patients with CDI also remained in the hospital much longer (17.9 versus 3.6 days), the investigators found.
“Independent risk factors for CDI included commonly identified patient factors (albumin, functional class, and weight loss), procedural characteristics (complexity, relative value units, emergency, and wound classification), surgical program complexity, the number of preoperative antibiotic classes, and length of preoperative hospital stay,” the authors write.