Background: Clostridium difficile colitis (CDC) patients receiving chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies are anticipated to have worse outcomes than immunocompetent CDC patients. Study design: An IRB approved retrospective cohort study (2004-2009) identified an equal number (n = 49) of CDC inpatients receiving chemotherapy for hematologic malignancies (CDC-HM) as well as CDC patients without malignancies (CDC-NM). Chi-squared tests, linear regression, and analysis of variance were used to compare outcomes. Results: No difference (p > 0.05) was noted between groups regarding age, hypertension, diabetes, COPD, or coronary artery disease. Approximately 62 % of CDC-HM patients required colony-stimulating factor for neutropenia. There was no difference (p > 0.05) in peak lactate or creatinine levels. None of the CDC-HM group required colectomy, while four CDC-NM patients required surgery (p = 0.04); neither group experienced death. No differences were noted regarding need for ICU admission for CDC or the need for vasopressors (p > 0.05). Mean hospital length of stay was longer for the CDC-HM group (22 days vs. 10 days; p = 0.001). Conclusions: CDC-HM patients had longer lengths of stay than CDC-NM patients without an increase in rates of death, colectomy, or ICU admission. Outcomes in CDC-HM are better than many would anticipate, underscoring the current knowledge deficit regarding C. difficile infection.
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