Old age, leucocytosis, hypoalbuminemia, and elevated creatinine have been identified as risk factors for fulminant Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). High ATLAS scores have also been linked to fatal disease. The affiliated studies, however, involved patients prescribed metronidazole - a regimen no longer standard of care. The variables were thus reassessed in patients prescribed optimal therapy.


Adults hospitalized with CDI at University of Kentucky Medical Center were retrospectively reviewed. Enrolled subjects were separated according to disease classification i.e. non-severe/severe versus fulminant CDI. Fulminant patients were further subdivided into hypotensive persons responsive to fluid resuscitation, and those with sequent shock, ileus, or megacolon. Following partition, the cohorts underwent correlation analysis.


Forty-five subjects had non-severe/severe disease. Thirteen fulminant CDI patients responded to fluid resuscitation. Seventeen fulminant CDI patients developed shock, ileus, or megacolon. Median WBC counts, albumin values, and ATLAS scores varied among the cohorts. Although WBC counts were similar among the fulminant subsets, declining albumin values and increasing ATLAS scores mirrored disease worsening. Logistic regression revealed albumin values < 20 g/L (odds ratio [OR] 3.91) and ATLAS scores ≥ 6 (OR 5.03) to predict critical illness in hypotensive persons.


Median WBC counts, albumin values, and ATLAS scores differed in patients separated by CDI severity. A notable variance in albumin values and ATLAS scores between fluid responsive fulminant disease and critical illness was moreover seen. The finding suggests hypoalbuminemia and high ATLAS scores in hypotensive CDI patients may herald shock, ileus, or megacolon.

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Published in Infection Prevention in Practice, v. 3, issue 2, 100127.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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