Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is highly effective for preventing recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). Durability (no recurrence despite additional risk factor exposure) of FMT protection is largely unknown. We studied the durability of FMT in patients with recurrent CDI.
A retrospective study of adults undergoing FMT for recurrent CDI was conducted. Data collected included demographics, CDI risk factors (comorbidities, healthcare exposure, systemic non-CDI antibiotic use, acid suppressant medications) and future CDI episodes. Durable response to FMT was defined as lack of CDI episodes within 1 year post-FMT despite risk factor exposure. Descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression were used as applicable. Two tailed p<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Overall 460 patients were included [median age 57 (18-94) years, 65.2% female]. Comorbidities included chronic liver disease, 12.8% (n=59), cancer, 11.7% (n=54), chronic kidney disease, 3.9% (n=18) and inflammatory bowel disease, 21.9% (n=101). Overall, 31.3% (n=144) received antibiotics, 21.7% (n=100) received acid suppressants, 76.8% (n=350) had healthcare exposure after FMT. Of 374 patients with risk factor exposure, 78.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 72.7%-84.0%] had durable response to FMT at one year. On multivariable analysis, antibiotic use was independently associated with decreased durability of FMT [hazard ratio 0.27 (95% CI, 0.15-0.49), p<0.001].
Majority of patients had a durable response to FMT despite exposure to CDI risk factors. Antibiotic exposure after FMT independently predicted loss of durability of FMT. Larger studies are needed to define predictors of durable response in patients with and without exposure to antibiotics.

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