Clostridium difficile colitis after kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation

M. West, J. Pirenne, B. Chavers, K. Gillingham, D. E.R. Sutherland, D. L. Dunn, Arthur J. Matas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the timing and risk factors involved in the development of Clostridium difficile (CD) colitis in kidney and kidney-pancreas transplant recipients. Summary background data: The incidence of CD colitis after kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation has not been studied in detail. The question of whether the immunosuppressed transplant recipient is more prone to CD colitis and its complications (i.e., megacolon, perforations) and the risk factors involved have not been determined. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our experience in kidney and kidney-pancreas recipients who received transplants between January 1, 1985 and December 31, 1994. We divided these recipients into three groups: pediatric kidney recipients, adult kidney recipients, and kidney-pancreas recipients. For each group, we assessed the timing of infection, primary disease, colitis treatment, and any concurrent complications or risk factors. Results: Of 1932 transplants, 159 recipients developed post-transplant CD colitis. 132 charts were available for review. Forty-three pediatric kidney recipients developed CD colitis. Their mean age was 3.2 yr; 74% (n = 37) of them developed their colitis during their initial hospital stay, with the mean timing of infection being 33 d. Forty-one (95%) had undergone intra-abdominal placement of the graft, with renal artery anastomoses to the aorta. Fifty adult kidney recipients developed CD colitis. Thirteen (26%) developed colitis during their initial hospital stay, with the mean timing of infection (for all adult kidney recipients) being 15 months. Thirty-nine kidney-pancreas recipients developed CD colitis. Mean timing of infection was 6 months. The overall incidence of CD colitis was 8%, with 16% in the pediatric kidney group, 15.5% in the kidney-pancreas group, and 3.5% in the adult kidney group. The difference in mean timing of infection was significant between the three groups (p < 0.001 for pediatric versus adult kidney recipients, p = 0.002 for pediatric kidney versus kidney-pancreas recipients, and p = 0.2846 for adult kidney versus kidney-pancreas recipients). Conclusion: The incidence of CD colitis is increased in pediatric kidney and kidney-pancreas recipients. Young recipient age (< 5 yr), female gender, treatment of rejection with monoclonal antibodies, antibiotic use, and intra-abdominal graft placement have been shown to increase the incidence of this disease. Further studies concerning prevention in the high-risk groups are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-323
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Clostridium difficile (CD) colitis
  • Infection
  • Kidney
  • Kidney-pancreas


Dive into the research topics of 'Clostridium difficile colitis after kidney and kidney-pancreas transplantation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this