High prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase organisms and the COVID-19 pandemic impact on donor recruitment for fecal microbiota transplantation in Hong Kong

United European Gastroenterol J. 2021 Oct 8. doi: 10.1002/ueg2.12160. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: With increasing number of clinical trials relating to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), it is crucial to identify and recruit long-term, healthy, and regular fecal donors.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to report the outcomes of screening and recruitment of fecal donors for FMT.

METHODS: Potential donors were recruited via advertisement through internal mass emails at a university. They were required to undergo a pre-screening telephone interview, a detailed questionnaire, followed by blood and stool investigations.

RESULTS: From January 2017 to December 2020, 119 potential donors were assessed with 75 failed pre-screening. Reasons for failure included: inability to come back for regular and long-term donation (n = 19), high body mass index (n = 17), underlying chronic illness or on long-term medications (n = 11), being healthcare professionals (n = 10), use of antibiotics within 3 months (n = 5) and others (n = 13). Forty-four donors completed questionnaires and 11 did not fulfill the clinical criteria. Of the remaining 33 potential donors who had stool and blood tests, 21 failed stool investigations (19 extended-spectrum beta-lactamase [ESBL] organisms, one Clostridioides difficile, one C. difficile plus Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), one failed blood tests (high serum alkaline phosphatase level), one required long-term medication and nine withdrew consent and/or lost to follow-up. In total, only one out of 119 (0.8%) potential donors was successfully recruited as a regular donor.

CONCLUSION: There was a high failure rate in donor screening for FMT. Main reasons for screening failure included high prevalence of positive ESBL organisms in stool and failed commitment to regular stool donation.

PMID:34623758 | DOI:10.1002/ueg2.12160