Frozen as Good as Fresh for Fecal Transplants for Diarrhea: Study04/24/14
THURSDAY, April 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Using frozen
material for fecal transplants is as effective as fresh material in
curing people with chronic diarrhea caused by recurrent infection
Clostridium difficilebacteria, according to a small new
Each year in the United States,
C. difficilecauses 250,000 infections requiring
hospitalization and 14,000 deaths. Fecal transplants treat
C. difficileinfection by restoring the normal balance of
intestinal microbes, the researchers explained.
Previous research has shown that fecal transplants with fresh
stool have a success rate of about 90 percent. However, recruiting
and screening potential donors of fecal material can be costly and
time consuming, the study authors note.
Having a supply of frozen, prescreened donor stool could make
fecal transplant available to a much larger number of patients,
according to the Massachusetts General Hospital team conducting the
The pilot study included 20 patients (three were children) who'd
had either three or more bouts of mild to moderate
C. difficileinfection where antibiotic treatment failed, or
had two severe bouts that required hospitalization.
They received frozen stool through the standard colonoscopy
method or through a tube inserted in the nose and moved down the
throat into the stomach. The treatment success rate was 90 percent,
which matches that of transplants using fresh stool, according to
the study published online in the journal
Clinical Infectious Diseases.
"We found that delivery of a frozen, stored [material] through a nasogastric tube is safe, acceptable to patients and as successful as delivery by colonoscopy -- which requires a preparatory 'clean out,' sedation or anesthesia, and is quite costly," senior author Dr. Elizabeth Hohmann, of the MGH Infectious Diseases Division in Boston, said in a hospital news release.
"Without this treatment option, patients with recurrent C. difficilemay have chronic diarrhea -- limiting their quality of life and their ability to maintain weight -- and need to live on chronic antibiotic treatment, which is both expensive and can have other side effects," she added.
"There aren't many things in medicine that have a success rate of more than 90 percent. Insurers may not want to pay for this, but it is very effective, makes patients better quite quickly and saves money overall. While it may never become a first-line treatment, we are starting to consider using it more and more often," Hohmann concluded.
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