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Summary

Background

Clostridium difficile colitis (CDC) is associated with an increased short-term mortality risk in hospitalised ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. We sought to determine whether CDC also impacts long-term risks of adverse health events in this population.

Aim

To determine whether CDC also impacts long-term risks of adverse health events in this population.

Methods

A population-based retrospective cohort study was conducted of UC patients hospitalised in Ontario, Canada between 2002 and 2008. Patients with and without CDC were compared on the rates of adverse health events. The primary outcomes were the 5-year adjusted risks of colectomy and death.

Results

Among 181 patients with CDC and 1835 patients without CDC, the 5-year cumulative colectomy rates were 44% and 33% (P = 0.0052) and the 5-year cumulative mortality rates were 27% and 14% (P < 0.0001) respectively. CDC was associated with a higher adjusted 5-year risk of mortality [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.40, 95% CI 1.37–4.20], but not of colectomy (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 0.90–1.54). CDC impacted mortality risk both during index hospitalisation (adjusted odds ratio 8.90, 95% CI 2.80–28.3) as well as over 5 years following hospital discharge among patients who recovered from their acute illness (aHR 2.41, 95% CI 1.37–4.22). Colectomy risk was not influenced by CDC in this cohort.

Conclusion

Clostridium difficile colitis is associated with increased short-term and long-term mortality risks among hospitalised ulcerative colitis patients. As colectomy risk is not similarly impacted by Clostridium difficile colitis, factors predictive of death among C. difficile-infected ulcerative colitis patients require elucidation.