Factors Associated With Fecal Microbiota Transplant Failure in the Treatment of Recurrent Clostridioides difficile Infection: A Single-Center Retrospective Study

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Background Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a major cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Recurrences following treatment are common. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a therapeutic intervention in which stool from a healthy donor is administered to a patient with recurrent CDI. Studies to date of predictors of FMT failure have primarily included inpatients. In this study, we aimed to describe FMT failure rates within one year of FMT and evaluate factors associated with FMT failure. Methodology We conducted an exploratory retrospective study of consecutive patients who underwent outpatient FMT at a single tertiary care center in Western Massachusetts from December 2014 through September 2018. We collected patient data including demographics, CDI-related factors, and FMT-related factors. FMT failure was defined as non-response or recurrence of diarrhea, associated with positive stool C. difficile toxin or polymerase chain reaction. Unadjusted relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals for factors associated with FMT failure were estimated using log-binomial regression. Results A total of 92 patients were included with a mean age of 64 years. CDI severity was mild or moderate in 73% and severe or fulminant in 27%. The most common FMT indication was recurrent CDI in 76% of patients. FMT failure occurred in 25 of 92 (27%) patients, with half occurring within 11 days. Factors associated with FMT failure were active malignancy (RR = 2.56), prior hospitalizations (RR = 2.42), and receipt of non-CDI antibiotics within six months of FMT (RR = 2.80). We did not observe strong associations for risk of FMT failure with age ≥65, sex, use of proton pump inhibitors or H2 receptor agonists, history of colectomy, immunosuppression, history of malignancy, diabetes, appendectomy, CDI severity, or probiotic use. Conclusions Active malignancy, prior CDI hospitalizations, and non-CDI antibiotics within six months before FMT were associated with FMT failure in the outpatient setting. Knowledge of the above factors may help inform shared decision-making with patients at risk for FMT failure.

Keywords: clostridioides difficile infection; fecal microbiota transplantation (fmt); fmt failure; gut biome; recurrent c diff.