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Increased risk of functional gastrointestinal sequelae after Clostridium difficile infection among active duty United States military personnel (1998-2010).

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Navy

Sponsoring Office: Naval Medical Research Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Navy

Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2015

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Defense Medical Surveillance System

Secondary DoD Data Source:


Some acute enteric infections are associated with the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders, most commonly irritable bowel syndrome but also other functional and organic gastrointestinal sequelae. Clostridium difficile infection has increased in incidence and severity, however, few studies have evaluated functional disorders after this infection.

We evaluated the epidemiology and sequelae of C difficile in the US military population by using the US Department of Defense's Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center Defense Medical Ecounter Database. We then performed a retrospective cohort study of 891 active-duty US military personnel who developed C difficile from 1998 to 2010 and 3231 matched subjects who had not been exposed to C difficile. Subjects were identified based on International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, Clinical Modification codes for C difficile disease.

C difficile was associated independently with increased rate ratios (RRs) for incident irritable bowel syndrome (RR, 6.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.9-12.9), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (RR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4-2.6), dyspepsia (RR, 3.3; 95%, 1.4-7.7), and constipation (RR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.3-3.7). Approximately 14.1% of subjects with C difficile later were identified with one of these functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGDs), compared with 6% of controls. Community- and health care-associated C difficile were associated at similar rates with these sequelae. Patients were at increased risk for FGDs within 3 months of a C difficile episode, with one additional case of FGD developing for every 12 diagnoses of C difficile.

The incidence of community- and health care-associated C difficile has increased in the US military population from 1998 through 2010. As for other gastrointestinal infections, C difficile disease is associated with clinically relevant functional sequelae in this military population.


Gutiérrez RL, Riddle MS, Porter CK. Increased risk of functional gastrointestinal sequelae after Clostridium difficile infection among active duty United States military personnel (1998-2010). Gastroenterology. 2015 Nov;149(6):1408-14.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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