Clostridium difficile: What is the risk?

Published:September 02, 2022DOI:



      Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) are rising among pediatric patients in the community and hospital setting. Children undergoing transplants and bowel surgery are at a higher risk, while renal surgery has a lower risk. We hypothesize children undergoing pediatric urologic procedures are uncommonly diagnosed with postoperative CDI.


      To study CDI in pediatric patients undergoing urologic surgery and identify associated perioperative factors.

      Study design

      The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric data file was queried for children undergoing surgery with pediatric urology or urology between 2015 and 2017. Data points included patient demographics (age, gender, race, ASA classification), surgery performed, and perioperative outcomes (operative time, admission status, length of stay, complications, readmission, and reoperation). Students T-test and Chi-square analyses were applied to detect differences between those with CDI and those without CDI.


      Of the 27,193 patients undergoing urologic surgery, 36 (0.13%) were diagnosed with CDI. The surgeries are presented in the Summary Figure. Patients with CDI were more likely to be female (50% vs 28%, p = 0.003) than those without. There was no difference in mean age or race. Children with CDI had higher ASA classifications (p < 0.001). Their mean operative times were longer (156.1 ± 19.6 vs 105.2 ± 0.6 min, p < 0.001), as were their mean lengths of stay (4.6 ± 0.8 vs 1.3 ± 0.0 days, p < 0.001). CDI patients were more likely to have other complications (29% vs 6%, p < 0.001). Among patients with CDI, 19.4% experienced concomitant infectious complications. There was no difference in reoperation rate, but more patients with CDI required readmission (56% vs 4%, p < 0.001). A third of children with CDI had undergone vesicoureteral reflux correction, comprising 0.3% of the included procedures. Over 11% of children with CDI had undergone nephrectomy, comprising 1.1% of the included procedures for the highest rate.


      CDI are uncommon following pediatric urologic procedures. No patients undergoing inguinal or scrotal cases developed CDI, while only one patient developed CDI after penile surgery. Our study does have several important limitations: we are unable to provide clinical information about the exact diagnoses, CDI risk factors such as antibiotic usage or comorbid conditions, and the number of patients who were tested for CDI.


      Summary Fig. 1


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