J Microbiol Methods. 2021 Mar 6:106189. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2021.106189. Online ahead of print.
Clostridioides difficile (Clostridium difficile) (CD) infection remains a challenging diagnosis in hospitalized patients given the myriad of testing procedures and array of alternative causes for diarrhea. We identified 100 consecutive inpatients with positive CD testing in a single tertiary center before and after changing from nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) alone to a two-step algorithm involving Glutamate Dehydrogenase enzyme immunoassays (GDHEIA) followed by an enzyme immunoassay for CD toxins (EIA). Detailed clinical information was obtained retrospectively to assess for risk factors, clinical features, and treatment outcomes to correlate test results with clinical cases. We demonstrate that using a 2-step testing algorithm identifies patients with a consistent clinical illness for CD disease significantly more often than nucleic acid amplification testing alone without an increase in cases of severe CD disease. Our data suggest that NAAT alone results in an increase in unnecessary treatment of CD colonization.