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This article was originally published as:

Mitchell, B., & Gardner, A. (2012). Mortality and Clostridium difficile infection: A review. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control,1 20. doi: 10.1186/2047-2994-1-20

ISSN: 2047-2994


060501 Bacteriology| 060502 Infectious Agents| 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified| 111706 Epidemiology

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Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a common cause of diarrhoea in hospitalised patients. Around the world, the incidence and severity of CDI appears to be increasing, particularly in the northern hemisphere. The purpose of this integrative review was to investigate and describe mortality in hospitalised patients with CDI.

Methods: A search of the literature between 1 January 2005 and 30 April 2011 focusing on mortality and CDI in hospitalised patients was conducted using electronic databases. Papers were reviewed and analysed individually and themes were combined using integrative methods.

Results: All cause mortality at 30 days varied from 9% to 38%. Three studies report attributable mortality at 30 days, varying from 5.7% to 6.9%. In hospital mortality ranged from 8% to 37.2%

Conclusion: All cause 30 day mortality appeared to be high, with 15 studies indicating a mortality of 15% or greater. Findings support the notion that CDI is a serious infection and measures to prevent and control CDI are needed. Future studies investigating the mortality of CDI in settings outside of Europe and North America are needed. Similarly, future studies should include data on patient co-morbidities.


At the time of writing Brett Mitchell was affiliated with Australian Catholic University.