Immunosuppression and Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile Infection Risk in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Patients

Elisa Morales-Marroquin, Luyu Xie, Madhuri Uppuluri, Jaime P. Almandoz, Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, Sarah E. Messiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Immunosuppressant use increases risk of Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile infection. To date, no studies have analyzed the relationship between immunosuppressant use and C difficile infections after metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS). Methods: A retrospective analysis of the 2015-2018 MBSAQIP data was conducted. The MBSAQIP data include information from 854 affiliated practices in the US and Canada. Initial sample size was 760,076 MBS patients. After excluding participants due to missing variables (n = 188,106) and the use of surgical procedures other than Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastroplasty (n = 129,712), final analyses were performed on 442,258 participants. Logistic regression models generated the odds of C difficile infection developing post MBS, according to immunosuppressant status (positive or negative). Results: Unadjusted logistic regression analysis showed that patients using immunosuppressants were 95% more likely to have postoperative C difficile infection (odds ratio 1.945; 95% CI, 1.230 to 3.075; p < 0.001) vs MBS patients not taking immunosuppressants. After adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, preoperative BMI, diabetes status, and surgical procedure type, the association remained unaffected (adjusted odds ratio 1.956; 95% CI, 1.236 to 3.095; p < 0.01). Patients who completed the laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure had more than double the odds of C difficile infection developing compared with those who completed the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure (odds ratio 2.183; 95% CI, 1.842 to 2.587; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Our results using a population-based sample of MBS patients showed that those taking immunosuppressants have a significantly higher risk of developing Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile infection postoperatively. These findings suggest that patients using immunosuppressants should be closely monitored both pre and post procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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