Patients with inflammatory bowel disease are six times more likely to die if they catch a common hospital bug, a study has found.
The London researchers said all patients with inflammatory bowel disease should be screened for C difficile when they arrive at hospital.
There are about 240,000 people in the UK with inflammatory bowel disease, including those with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The conditions cause diarrhoea and pain in the abdomen that can see them sent to hospital.
The study team, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, looked at NHS records between 2002 and 2008. They found a strong correlation between IBD, C diff and people dying in hospital.
Patients with IBD and C diff were six times more likely to die than inflammatory bowel disease patients who did not contract it. Their mortality rate was up to 25% after 30 days.
IBD patients with C diff spent longer in hospital and were nearly two times as likely to need a gastrointestinal operation, the study - published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics - found.
On average, they spent 26 days in hospital, while inflammatory bowel disease patients without C diff spent five days.
Researcher Dr Sonia Saxena said: “We are asking for these high-risk patients to be screened for C difficile proactively on admission to hospital so that if they are exposed, they can be diagnosed and treated more quickly.”