Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is highly effective for treating recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). CDI disproportionately affects the elderly; however, there is a paucity of data on FMT effectiveness in older adults, especially subpopulations at highest risk for CDI-related morbidity and mortality.
To assess the efficacy and safety of FMT for CDI in older adults.
A retrospective, long-term follow-up study was performed. The high-risk subpopulation included patients who were immunocompromised, patients with inflammatory bowel disease, and patients presenting with severe or fulminant colitis. Outcome measures included primary cure rates, early (< 12 weeks) and late (> 12 weeks) recurrence rates, adverse events, and subgroup analysis of higher-risk populations.
Our cohort included 75 patients (72% female) with a mean age of 76.4 and Charlson comorbidity index score of 5.4. There were 34 patients in our higher-risk subpopulation as defined above with an adjusted recurrence rate of 32.1%. FMT was performed for severe or fulminant disease in 30.6% of patients with a 3-month survival rate of 73.9%. Overall, the adjusted primary cure rate was 67.2% and the adjusted CDI recurrence was 29.9% in our cohort (90% of recurrences occurred early). Most adverse events in our study were rehospitalizations for recurrent CDI.
Compared with previous studies of FMT efficacy, our cohort had a lower primary cure rate and higher CDI recurrence rate than previously reported, likely driven by our higher-risk subpopulations. Nevertheless, FMT should be considered early to prevent progression of CDI severity and recurrence, especially in patients who present with severe and fulminant disease.