Why Patients Get “pooop” Transplants (yes, “pooop”)

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Fecal bacteria sampleBy Staff Blogger

Clostridium difficile, or c. diff, is a bacterial infection that is most commonly picked up after taking a round of antibiotics. There is a treatment for this infection that is being used around the country, however some find it disgusting.

The treatment is a fecal transplant. Someone else’s fecal matter is introduced into the patient’s body so the good bacterium from the fecal matter kills the c. diff bacteria. The doctors that practice it are referring to it as an “outpatient colonoscopy”.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet fully approved this course of treatment for c.diff infections. It is widely used though because it is a quick and simple procedure and has shown to be quite effective. The procedure is also a low cost procedure. It is labeled as a clinical practice in hospitals but has the support of many medical professionals.

These transplants are given to roughly 5% of the c. diff cases and that is only if they have recurrent cases. Every time someone gets the c. diff infection it kills off more and more healthy bacteria. This is where the transplant comes in handy as it is passing off healthy bacteria from someone else to make up for the healthy bacteria that you are losing. The donor of the fecal matter goes through screenings and tests, but the tissue type does not need to be the same.

The process begins when the donor is screened for illnesses or infections. They are required to stop the use of antibiotics within 24-48 hours of the donation. The donor then gets a colonoscopy. This flushes out all the fecal matter that they have in their body. The donor sample is taken in the morning after the colonoscopy. A small portion of the sample is then taken into a lab and processed, then is inserted into the recipient’s large intestine. From there the body takes its natural course.

 

 

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