What is the C Diff fecal transplant therapy?

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This c diff fecal transplant therapy is sometimes known as Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT). Because some people suffer chronic c difficile doctors are using a new therapy to dislodge the disruptive c diff from their intestine. Fecal matter from a family member is often sought so that the material entering their system is reflective of local stomach flora. This is then turned into a liquid slurry and inserted into the body to colonise the intestine.

How does it work?
For most people this introduces a new balance in the intestine and returns to the system bacteria depleted by antibiotic treatment. This bacteria  would  in normal circumstances would combat the c diff anyway. It is by no means clear as yet exactly how the cure takes place in specific biological terms – but the general theory that recolonizing the colon with healthy bacteria will reverse the c difficile seems to be true. Some research indicates that the reintroduction of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes elements are part of the cure.

What is the actual procedure?
The fecal matter is inserted into the intestine in one of 3 ways. Via a duodenal tube, a rectal tube or colonoscopy. The colonoscopy is favoured as the whole of the colon can be recolonized and the extent of the infection can be clarified during the process. The cure may happen within hours or a few days.

Has the procedure been validated by the medical authorities?

This is a not a new therapy, but it has been a rare one until the recent mushrooming of c difficile infections. It has been tested via clinical trials  and we link to information about those below. One of the major trials was extended to include those not receiving the therapy as it was felt to be unethical not to help them recover.

The FDA in the USA did seek to regulate the process and surround every procedure with extensive paperwork. They stepped back from this amidst a hail of protest from front-line doctors who were seeing sick people get well within days.

Does it work
Success rates of 97% have been noted and those for whom it does not work are often those with severe colitis. Overall a cure rate of 89% in 275 cases from a round the world has been noted. Initial research also suggest that a small minority who have further c diff infections have been reinfected from another source.

Who qualifies for this treatment?
This process is usually a last resort treatment. It will not be the first thing offered with your first c difficile infection. You will also need to find a facility willing to do it. Use a search engine to look for ‘fecal microbiota transplant xxxxxxxx. (Insert name of your state or city instead of xxxxxx.)

You will need to find a suitable donor, with family members preferred. You should note that their fecal matter will need to be tested and that much of the cost of the process – usually between $1500-2000 – relates to that testing. This is to ensure that they do not pass you another unhelpful infection. You should note that heavily medicated people or recent users of antibiotics will not be suitable donors. A ‘fecal donor bank’ is also creating a resource for hospitals so that can can obtain pre-screened fecal matter for use in the procedure.

Is this therapy still developing?
Work is under way to discover the essential elements of the fecal donation that heal the c diff infection. This would then be used to create pills that could bypass the need for the intrusive procedure. It is also believed that this type pf therapy could help several other conditions and research on those continues.

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  • Article written by Dave Roberts.
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    { 63 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lisa Hurka Covington March 17, 2014 at 2:07 am

    I had a fecal transplant in May 2013, and would advise it to anyone with c diff asap. I was cured from the c diff after suffering for 14 months and none of the drugs would kill the infection, went through fourteen bottles of vanco, flagyl, and difficid. I was going to die and I knew it if I did not have the fecal transplant, which if done in the first place it would have saved me so much suffering from the start if I had the knowledge. I do have many illnesses since the c diff, I came down with, roscea, blepharitis/eyes, osteoporosis/spine and hip, neuropathy/feet, teeth problems for not eating in the fourteen month time frame fighting the illness, etc…. I did phone the FDA about fecal transplants last year when they were putting pressure on our doctors to perform them. I told them how could they approve drugs, in my case clindamycin for a root canal which gives us c diff, and making it more difficult for us, when we have nothing else to keep us alive with a fecal transplant. It was not long after I phoned that they lifted alot of what they stated making it difficult for our doctors to help us. I was the last person my doctor did a transplant on for some period of time. Also my insurance company said they made a mistake by paying for my transplant which took months to get them to pay that. Then they said they refused to pay testing for my donor, which they finally did pay after I fought with them for seven months to pay me back after I paid the bills. It is impotant we all speak up and stand together when touched by this illness. If anyone would like to talk to me further you can contact me at speakforthem@aol.com. Keeping everyone in prayers….

    Reply

    Lisa Hurka Covington March 17, 2014 at 2:25 am

    I need to make sure everyone understands what I stated in my recent comment. I came down with the different illnesses listed in my comment while suffering with c diff. The fecal transpant did not give me the illnesses, it was the c diff that impacted my body.

    Reply

    Melissa June 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Does anyone know of a doctor that would do a fecal transplant in the SF Bay area (Ca)?

    Reply

    admin June 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    There is a slow down in this type of operation because of new FDA regulations. You need to Google fecal transplant SF bay to see who might do it.

    Dave
    cdifficile.org

    Reply

    Marjorie October 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Does anyone know of a doctor near Chico or Sacramento in California who does fecal transplants?

    Reply

    Dreika September 27, 2012 at 2:55 am

    This is ammoral and disgusting. It should be banned. Right alongside the HPV vaccine, abortion, birth control, insulin therapy, antibiotics, stem cell research, all transplants, blood transfusions, antidepressants and antipsychotics, tubaligations,vasectomies,masectomies, hysterectomies ,chemotherapy! It doesn’t matter if it “saves lives” or makes thing more convienant. We all have to die someday, and using repulsive and ungodly means to “cure” things is not helping anyone. They live longer, die anyway, then have consequences.

    Reply

    Jill Kenkel Campbell April 28, 2013 at 2:04 am

    You are an uneducated person.

    Reply

    Em April 28, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Really Dreika – so my 3 yr old should never have had the chance at any life since we all die someday? You are an idiot.

    Reply

    Lisa Hurka Covington March 17, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Hope you have grown up, and are more educated, since the last time you wrote this horrible comment. Life is precious. Until you have walked in anyones shoes with c diff, you have no right to condemn anyone!!!

    Reply

    Sarah September 13, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Hello! My father has had this issue for 20 months and no meds have helped. I would like him to see a doctor in Louisville regarding his c-diff issues. Any recommendations in Louisville, KY? Thank you!

    Reply

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