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 SYSTEMATIC REVIEW
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 194-198

The utility of repeat enzyme immunoassay testing for the diagnosis of Clostridium difficile infection: A systematic review of the literature


Department of Internal Medicine, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, 1900 W. Polk St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Correspondence Address:
P S Garimella
Department of Internal Medicine, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, 1900 W. Polk St, Chicago, IL 60607
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.101392

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Over the last 20 years, the prevalence of healthcare-associated Clostridium difficile (C. diff) disease has increased. While multiple tests are available for the diagnosis of C. diff infection, enzyme immunoassay (EIA) testing for toxin is the most used. Repeat EIA testing, although of limited utility, is common in medical practice. To assess the utility of repeat EIA testing to diagnose C. diff infections. Systematic literature review. Eligible studies performed >1 EIA test for C. diff toxin and were published in English. Electronic searches of MEDLINE and EMBASE were performed and bibliographies of review articles and conference abstracts were hand searched. Of 805 citations identified, 32 were reviewed in detail and nine were included in the final review. All studies except one were retrospective chart reviews. Seven studies had data on number of participants (32,526), and the overall reporting of test setting and patient characteristics was poor. The prevalence of C. diff infection ranged from 9.1% to 18.5%. The yield of the first EIA test ranged from 8.4% to 16.6%, dropping to 1.5-4.7% with a second test. The utility of repeat testing was evident in outbreak settings, where the yield of repeat testing was 5%. Repeat C. diff testing for hospitalized patients has low clinical utility and may be considered in outbreak settings or when the pre-test probability of disease is high. Future studies should aim to identify patients with a likelihood of disease and determine the utility of repeat testing compared with empiric treatment.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow