Derivation and Validation of a Clostridium difficile Infection Recurrence Prediction Rule in a National Cohort of Veterans

Kelly R. Reveles, Eric M. Mortensen, Jim M. Koeller, Kenneth A. Lawson, Mary Jo V. Pugh, Sarah A. Rumbellow, Jacqueline R. Argamany, Christopher R. Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Study Objective: Prior studies have identified risk factors for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), but few studies have integrated these factors into a clinical prediction rule that can aid clinical decision-making. The objectives of this study were to derive and validate a CDI recurrence prediction rule to identify patients at risk for first recurrence in a national cohort of veterans. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Data Source: Veterans Affairs Informatics and Computing Infrastructure. Patients: A total of 22,615 adult Veterans Health Administration beneficiaries with first-episode CDI between October 1, 2002, and September 30, 2014; of these patients, 7538 were assigned to the derivation cohort and 15,077 to the validation cohort. Measurements and Main Results: A 60-day CDI recurrence prediction rule was created in a derivation cohort using backward logistic regression. Those variables significant at p<0.01 were assigned an integer score proportional to the regression coefficient. The model was then validated in the derivation cohort and a separate validation cohort. Patients were then split into three risk categories, and rates of recurrence were described for each category. The CDI recurrence prediction rule included the following predictor variables with their respective point values: prior third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins (1 point), prior proton pump inhibitors (1 point), prior antidiarrheals (1 point), nonsevere CDI (2 points), and community-onset CDI (3 points). In the derivation cohort, the 60-day CDI recurrence risk for each score ranged from 7.5% (0 points) to 57.9% (8 points). The risk score was strongly correlated with recurrence (R2 = 0.94). Patients were split into low-risk (0–2 points), medium-risk (3–5 points), and high-risk (6–8 points) classes and had the following recurrence rates: 8.9%, 20.2%, and 35.0%, respectively. Findings were similar in the validation cohort. Conclusion: Several CDI and patient-specific factors were independently associated with 60-day CDI recurrence risk. When integrated into a clinical prediction rule, higher risk scores and risk classes were strongly correlated with CDI recurrence. This clinical prediction rule can be used by providers to identify patients at high risk for CDI recurrence and help guide preventive strategy decisions, while accounting for clinical judgment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-356
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Clostridium difficile
  • epidemiology
  • prediction rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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