COVID-19 Resource Center

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Clostridium difficile colitis after general or vascular surgery

Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections are a common cause of bacterial diarrhea in hospital patients. Most CDIs occur in patients who are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics can kill bad germs, but they can also kill good germs that protect against CDIs. The C. difficile organism can be found in feces and can be transferred from infected patients or contaminated surfaces. Patients can also become infected with C. difficile if they touch contaminated objects or surfaces and then touch their mouths. Hospital staff members can prevent most C. difficile infections by following the infection control guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hospitals following these safety guidelines will likely have low numbers in this measure.

To learn more about C. difficile infection, click here.

About this measure

This measure tracks patients who had general or vascular surgery and developed C. difficile within 30 days after surgery, based on a sampling methodology developed by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP).

The rate of C. difficile colitis after general or vascular surgery patients is expressed as an odds ratio. This reports the estimated odds of an event happening at Northwestern Memorial compared to the estimated odds of that event happening in all hospitals in the ACS NSQIP database. A number of 1.0 means the hospital is performing as expected. A number less than 1.0 means the hospital is performing better than expected. A number greater than 1.0 means the hospital is performing worse than expected.

In this case, a lower number is better.