More Details on Drug-Resistant E coli Transmitted by Fecal Microbiota Transplant

In June 2019, the FDA delivered a warning about the potential danger of transmitting drug-resistant E coli with fecal microbiota tranplantaion (FMT).  (FDA Warning for FMT)

A report on this issue has now been published: Z DeFilipp et al. NEJM 381: 2043-50, editorial M Blaser pgs 264-6.

The authors describe two patients, a 69 year-old with cirrhosis and a 73 year-old sp stem cell transplantation, who developed bacteremia due to transmission of a drug-resistant (extended-spectrum beta-lactamase [ESBL]) E coli following FMT which was delivered by oral capsules. The latter patient died from sepsis. The two patients had a genomicly-identical strain isolated that was also found in the donated aliquot.

In the commentary, a couple of important points:

  • “Up to now, the complications have been infrequent [from FMT], and for recurrent C difficile infection, the benefits of FMT clearly outweigh the risks; however, as the use of FMT is broadened and more compromised patients are treated, complications may be more frequently observed.”
  • “In the short term, improved and uniform screening of FMT material is needed to reduce the risks.”

My take: Both of these patients who became developed bacteremia were at risk for more severe infections.  However, we need to remain aware that severe complications can and do occur with FMT.  In context, though, there are risks of severe complications from routine use of antibiotics as well.

Frontenac Hotel, Quebec City

Only 3% Make It Through the Donor Screening Process for Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

A recent letter (Z Kassam et al. NEJM 2019; 381: 2070-2) describes the arduous process involved in being selected as a stool donor for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

In a previous blog (2015), it appeared that 17% of donors were accepted for FMT: Rejected! Most Stool is Not Good Enough for FMT This current review of the donor program from a stool bank (OpenBiome) prospectively evaluated 15,317 donor candidates from 2014-2018.

Key finding:

  • Only 3% (n=386) made it through all the steps to become donors

Reasons for exclusion:

Stage 1: common reasons for exclusion:

  • geographical -living too far away to donate regularly
  • BMI >30
  • social history
  • travel history
  • not in age range

Stage 2: “failing” the 200-item clinical assessment –common reasons for exclusion:

  • lost to followup
  • allergic disorders/asthma
  • receiving medications/supplements
  • mental health concerns
  • infectious disease history
  • social history/sexual history/other reasons

Stage 3: “failing” the stool and nasal screening which included (in 2016) carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacea (CRE), extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing organisms (ESBL) and MRSA. –common reasons for exclusion:

  • lost to followup
  • infectious disorders (including C diff in 7 patients)

Stage 4: “failing” serological screening

  • lost to followup
  • abnormal LFTs, CBC or infection

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Island Ford, Sandy Springs, GA

Large Study Shows FMT Efficacy/Safety in Children

Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019. In press: Efficacy of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Clostridium difficile Infection in Children Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference.

Abstract

Background & Aims

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is commonly used to treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). CDI is an increasing cause of diarrheal illness in pediatric patients, but the effects of FMT have not been well studied in children. We performed a multi-center retrospective cohort study of pediatric and young adult patients to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and factors associated with a successful FMT for the treatment of CDI.

Methods

We performed a retrospective study of 372 patients, 11 months to 23 years old, who underwent FMTs at 18 pediatric centers, from February 1, 2004 to February 28, 2017; 2-month outcome data were available from 335 patients. Successful FMT was defined as no recurrence of CDI in the 2 months following FMT. We performed stepwise logistic regression to identify factors associated with successful FMT.

Results

Of 335 patients who underwent FMT and were followed for 2 months or more, 271 (81%) had a successful outcome following a single FMT and 86.6% had a successful outcome following a first or repeated FMT. Patients who received FMT with fresh donor stool (odds ratio [OR], 2.66; 95% CI, 1.39–5.08), underwent FMT via colonoscopy (OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.26–4.61), did not have a feeding tube (OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.05–4.11), or had 1 less episode of CDI before FMT (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.04–1.39) had increased odds for successful FMT. Seventeen patients (4.7%) had a severe adverse event during the 3-month follow-up period, including 10 hospitalizations.

Conclusion

Based on the findings from a large multi-center retrospective cohort, FMT is effective and safe for the treatment of CDI in children and young adults. Further studies are required to optimize the timing and method of FMT for pediatric patients—factors associated with success differ from those of adult patients.

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Park Guell, Barcelona

Cost Effective Fecal Transplantation

A recent retrospective study (DE Brumbaugh et al. J Pediatr 2018; 194: 123-7) examined the effectiveness of intragastric fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in 42 children (47 FMTs).

Key findings:

  • 94% (16/17) success in otherwise healthy children
  • 75%  (9/12) success in medically complex children
  • 54% (7/13) success in inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Figure 2 describes cost: nasogastric FMT cost for hospital/professional charges was $1139 compared to $4998 for nasoduodenal FMT and $7767 for colonoscopy FMT

To understand the results better, one needs to look at their methods.  The authors defined CDI based on a positive fecal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.  All patients undergoing FMT had to have had >2 episodes of CDI.

The authors discuss the issue that asymptomatic Clostridium difficile carriage is common in IBD (“6 times that in healthy controls”) and the fact that true CDI can be difficult to ascertain as the relative contribution of IBD activity can be difficult to separate from CDI.  Interestingly, the authors did not comment on their use of PCR testing to establish infection.

As noted in a previous blog post (Overdiagnosis of Clostridium difficile with PCR assays), immunoassay testing for toxin is likely helpful in equivocal cases.  In an influential JAMA Intern Med study (JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(11):1792-1801.  doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4114), virtually all CDI-related complications and deaths occurred in patients with positive toxin immunoassay test results. Patients with a positive molecular test result and a negative toxin immunoassay test result had outcomes that were comparable to patients without C difficile by either method.

Other useful points in this study:

  • The authors note that craniofacial anatomy may preclude NG placement in some patients (in some orogastric insertion could be an alternative)
  • Patients at high risk for GERD/aspiration along with general anesthesia patients are “not good candidates for FMT”
  • “If there is concern for undiagnosed IBD or other GI pathology, FMT via colonoscopy may be preferable” as FMT could be diagnostic and therapeutic.

My take: This study confirms the utility of intragastric FMT for recurrent CDI as a cost-effective option.  More careful examination of CDI in patients with IBD could result in determining which patients are most likely to benefit from FMT

Hoover Dam

 

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FMT in the “Real World”

At DDW 2016, OpenBiome presented data (abstract Su1737) from 2,050 patients who received fecal microbiata transplants (FMT) in “the real world.”

Key findings:

  • Overall, 84% clinical cure rate with a single treatment
  • 85% of patients were treated with FMT via colonoscopy (250 mL) and 15% via nasal tube (50 mL). Nasal tube administration had a lower clinical cure rate of 77.9%, compared with 85.1% who had FMT via colonoscopy.

More information on this study: “Closet Thing to Miracle Cure”: Study Confirms Benefit of FMT in C difficile  Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News July 2016  This link also presents data on use of FMT in ulcerative colitis and the use of capsule FMT.

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Lymphonodular Hyperplasia2

Ulcerative Colitis with Questionable Response to Fecal Transplant

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is not going to be a “magic bullet” for most patients with inflammatory bowel disease. So far, it is unclear whether FMT works at all.  A recent study (full text link: Rossen NG et al. Gastroenterol 2015; 145: 110-8) with only 37 patients echo that experience. Here is the abstract:

Background & Aims

Several case series have reported the effects of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for ulcerative colitis (UC). We assessed the efficacy and safety of FMT for patients with UC in a double-blind randomized trial.

Methods

Patients with mild to moderately active UC (n = 50) were assigned to groups that underwent FMT with feces from healthy donors or were given autologous fecal microbiota (control); each transplant was administered via nasoduodenal tube at the start of the study and 3 weeks later. The study was performed at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam from June 2011 through May 2014.

The composite primary end point was clinical remission (simple clinical colitis activity index scores ≤2) combined with ≥1-point decrease in the Mayo endoscopic score at week 12. Secondary end points were safety and microbiota composition by phylogenetic microarray in fecal samples.

Results

Thirty-seven patients completed the primary end point assessment. In the intention-to-treat analysis, 7 of 23 patients who received fecal transplants from healthy donors (30.4%) and 5 of 25 controls (20.0%) achieved the primary end point (P = .51). In the per-protocol analysis, 7 of 17 patients who received fecal transplants from healthy donors (41.2%) and 5 of 20 controls (25.0%) achieved the primary end point (P = .29). Serious adverse events occurred in 4 patients (2 in the FMT group), but these were not considered to be related to the FMT. At 12 weeks, the microbiota of responders in the FMT group was similar to that of their healthy donors; remission was associated with proportions of Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa.

Conclusions

In this phase 2 trial, there was no statistically significant difference in clinical and endoscopic remission between patients with UC who received fecal transplants from healthy donors and those who received their own fecal microbiota, which may be due to limited numbers. However, the microbiota of responders had distinct features from that of nonresponders, warranting further study. ClinicalTrials.gov Number: NCT01650038.

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Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island