J Infect Dis. 2020 Dec 19:jiaa773. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa773. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Clostridioides difficile infections (CDIs) are a common healthcare-associated infection and often used as indicators of hospital safety or quality. However, healthcare exposures occurring prior to hospitalization may increase risk for CDI. We conduct a case-control study comparing hospitalized patients with and without CDI to determine if healthcare exposures prior to hospitalization (i.e., clinic visits, antibiotics, family members with CDI) were associated with increased risk for hospital onset CDI, and how risk varied with time between exposure and hospitalization.
METHODS: Records were collected from a large insurance-claims database from 2001-2017 for hospitalized adult patients. Prior healthcare exposures were identified using inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and prescription drug claims; results were compared between various CDI case definitions.
RESULTS: Hospitalized patients with CDI had significantly more frequent healthcare exposures prior to admission. Healthcare visits, antibiotics and family exposures were associated with greater likelihood of CDI during hospitalization. The degree of association diminished with time between exposure and hospitalization. Results were consistent across CDI case definitions.
CONCLUSIONS: Many different prior healthcare exposures appear to increase risk for CDI presenting during hospitalization. Moreover, patients with CDI typically have multiple exposures prior to admission, confounding the ability to attribute cases to a particular stay.