Mortality and Costs in Clostridium difficile Infection among the Elderly in the United States

Andrew F. Shorr, Marya D. Zilberberg, Li Wang, Onur Baser, Holly Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To examine attributable mortality and costs of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in the Medicare population. DESIGN A population-based cohort study among US adults aged at least 65 years in the 2008-2010 Medicare 5% sample, with follow-up of 12 months. PATIENTS Incident CDI episode was defined by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code of 008.45 and no other occurrences within the preceding 12 months. To quantify the adjusted mortality and costs we developed a 1:1 propensity-matched sample of CDI and non-CDI patients. RESULTS Among 1,165,165 patients included, 6,838 (0.6%) had a CDI episode in 2009 (82.5% healthcare-associated). Patients with CDI were older (mean [SD] age, 81.0±8.0 vs 77.0±7.7 years, P<.001), were more likely to come from the Northeast (27.4% vs 18.6%, P<.001), and had a higher comorbidity burden (Charlson score, 4.6±3.3 vs 1.7±2.1, P<.001). Hospitalizations (63.2% vs 6.0%, P<.001) and antibiotics (33.9% vs 12.5%, P<.001) within the prior 90 days were more common in the group with CDI. In the propensity-adjusted analysis, CDI was associated with near doubling of both mortality (42.6% vs 23.4%, P<.001) and total healthcare costs ($64,807±$66,480 vs $38,128±$46,485, P<.001). CONCLUSIONS Among elderly patients, CDI is associated with an increase in adjusted mortality and healthcare costs following a CDI episode. Nationwide annually this equals 240,000 patients with CDI, 46,000 potential deaths, and more than $6 billion in costs. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2016;1-6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1336
Number of pages6
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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