Clostridium difficile infection: Pathophysiology and diagnosis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Clostridium difficile is a relatively common enteric pathogen encountered most frequently in association with antibiotic use and as a nosocomial pathogen. Four factors dictate clinical expression: (1) acquisition of the organism from environmental sources or previous colonization; (2) distortion of the competing colonic flora by antibiotics;(3) toxin production; and (4) age-related susceptibility. Characteristics of clinical features include inflammatory diarrhea (cramps, fecal leukocytes, systemic response), endoscopic evidence of colitis or pseudomembranous colitis, and protein-losing enteropathy. The usual diagnostic tests are designed to detect toxin B with a tissue culture assay or toxin A with an enzyme immunoassay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Gastrointestinal Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 3 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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