Decreasing Clostridium difficile–Associated Fatality Rates Among Hospitalized Patients in the United States: 2004-2014



      Clostridium difficile infection has emerged as a major public health problem in the United States over the last 2 decades. We examined the trends in the C. difficile–associated fatality rate, hospital length of stay, and hospital charges over the last decade.


      We used data from the National Inpatient Sample to identify patients with a principal diagnosis of C. difficile infection from 2004 to 2014. Outcomes included in-hospital fatality rate, hospital length of stay, and hospital charges. For each outcome, trends were also stratified by age categories because the risk of infection and associated mortality increases with age.


      Clostridium difficile infection discharges increased from 19.9 per 100,000 persons in 2004 to 33.8 per 100,000 persons in 2014. Clostridium difficile–associated fatality decreased from 3.6% in 2004 to 1.6% in 2014 (P < .001). Among patients aged 45-64 years, fatality decreased from 1.2% in 2004 to 0.7% in 2014 (P < .001). Among patients aged 65-84 years, fatality decreased from 4.3% in 2004 to 2.0% in 2014 (P < .001). Among patients aged ≥85 years, fatality decreased from 6.9% in 2004 to 3.6% in 2014 (P < .001). The mean length of hospital stay decreased from 6.9 days in 2004 to 5.8 days in 2014 (P < .001). The mean hospital charges increased from 2004 ($24,535) to 2014 ($35,898) (P < .001).


      In-hospital fatality associated with C. difficile infection in the United States has decreased more than 2-fold in the last decade, despite increasing infection rates.


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