Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive bacterium that normally exists in the colon. When patients receive broad-spectrum antibiotics, particularly ampicillin, cephalosporins, or clindamycin, the normal intestinal flora (microbiome) is reduced. However, Clostridium difficile is resistant to these antibiotics and so its presence actually increases under these conditions. Its presence can also be increased in immunosuppressed patients.
Clostridium difficile releases two necrotic toxins, Toxin A and Toxin B, which cause necrosis of the colon mucosa. This results in the development of pseudomembranous colitis, a potentially very serious condition, usually within 4 to 10 days after starting antibiotic therapy. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever, and copious amounts of watery diarrhea. There is also leukocytosis in complete blood count.
This test can diagnose the infection and initiate the treatment which includes discontinuation of broad-spectrum antibiotics, metronidazole or vancomycin administration, and, if necessary, intravenous fluid administration.
What Do Pathological Values Mean?
- Presence of Toxin A and/or Toxin B: Pseudomembranous enterocolitis associated with antibiotics, C. difficile colitis
The test also detects the presence of the enzyme glutamine dehydrogenase (GDH) of Clostridium difficile as an additional indicator of the presence of the bacterium.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.