Infectious Diseases Society of America

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 23, 2015

Avoid testing for a Clostridium difficile infection in the absence of diarrhea.

Testing for C. difficile or its toxins should be performed only on diarrheal (unformed) stool, unless ileus due to C. difficile is suspected. Because C. difficile carriage is increased in patients on antimicrobial therapy, and patients in the hospital, only diarrheal stools warrant testing. In the absence of diarrhea, the presence of C. difficile indicates carriage and should not be treated and therefore, not tested.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) directed the development of IDSA’s Choosing Wisely®list of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question. The Committee identified a preliminary list of inappropriate and overused clinical practices. A list of five items was drafted and then vetted by the QIC and revisions were made according to a workgroup consensus. The finalized list was then submitted for approval to the IDSA Board of Directors.

IDSA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.idsociety.org/Index.aspx.

Sources

Cohen SH, Gerding DN, Johnson S, Kelly CP, Loo VG, McDonald LC, Pepin J, Wilcox MH; Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America; Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical practice guidelines for Clostridium difficile infection in adults: 2010 update by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2010 May;31(5):431-55.

Surawicz, Christina M, Brandt LJ, Binion DG, Ananthakrishnan AN, Curry SR, Gilligan PH, McFarland LV, Mellow M, Zuckerbraun BS. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr;108(4):478-98.