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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2011 September;57(3):231-40

language: English

Awareness about clostridium difficile infection among internal medicine residents in the United States

Navaneethan U. 1, Schauer D. P. 1, Giannella R. A. 2

1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA
2 Division of Digestive Diseases, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA


Aim. Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the leading infective cause of antibiotic associated diarrhea. The principal objective of this study was to assess the knowledge and awareness of internal medicine (IM) residents regarding the epidemiology, clinical recognition, diagnosis and management of CDI.
Methods. A 20-question survey was distributed to 90 IM residents in all three years of their post graduate training in a university-based program. The survey instrument assessed the resident’s knowledge of the current epidemiological trend, clinical recognition and presentation, diagnosis and management of CDI.
Results. Forty two out of 90 (48%) residents completed the questionnaire. Only 10/42 (23.8%) of the residents recommended the gold standard investigation for diagnosing CDI. The majority of residents 29/42 (69%) were not aware of the existence of CDI in the outpatient setting and would not test for CDI. Only 50% of the residents were aware of the worse outcome of CDI in inflammatory bowel disease patients and only 12/42 (28.6%) would appropriately risk stratify and treat patients. Almost all of the residents (97.6%) knew about the appropriate time to consult surgery. There was no significant difference in the awareness with respect to the year of training (interns vs. residents), their career choices (primary care vs. fellowship) nor did the knowledge correlate with the United States medical licensing examination (USMLE) scores.
Conclusion. IM residents had suboptimal knowledge of many aspects of the common problem of CDI. Educational efforts should be directed at IM residents, many of whom plan careers as primary care/hospitalists, who will encounter patients with CDI.

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