Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology

Original Article

Evaluation of Hospital Room Assignment and Acquisition of Clostridium difficile Infection

Megan K. Shaughnessya1, Renee L. Miciellia1, Daryl D. DePestela2, Jennifer Arndta3, Cathy L. Strachana4, Kathy B. Welcha5 and Carol E. Chenowetha1a3 c1

a1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

a2 Department of Clinical, Social, and Administrative Sciences, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, and Department of Pharmacy Services, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

a3 Department of Infection Control and Epidemiology, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

a4 Clinical Information Decision Support Services, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan

a5 University of Michigan Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Background and Objective. Clostridium difficile spores persist in hospital environments for an extended period. We evaluated whether admission to a room previously occupied by a patient with C. difficile infection (CDI) increased the risk of acquiring CDI.

Design. Retrospective cohort study.

Setting. Medical intensive care unit (ICU) at a tertiary care hospital.

Methods. Patients admitted from January 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006, were evaluated for a diagnosis of CDI 48 hours after ICU admission and within 30 days after ICU discharge. Medical, ICU, and pharmacy records were reviewed for other CDI risk factors. Admitted patients who did develop CDI were compared with admitted patients who did not.

Results. Among 1,844 patients admitted to the ICU, 134 CDI cases were identified. After exclusions, 1,770 admitted patients remained for analysis. Of the patients who acquired CDI after admission to the ICU, 4.6% had a prior occupant without CDI, whereas 11.0% had a prior occupant with CDI (P = .002). The effect of room on CDI acquisition remained a significant risk factor (P = .008) when Kaplan-Meier curves were used. The prior occupant's CDI status remained significant (P = .01; hazard ratio, 2.35) when controlling for the current patient's age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III score, exposure to proton pump inhibitors, and antibiotic use.

Conclusions. A prior room occupant with CDI is a significant risk factor for CDI acquisition, independent of established CDI risk factors. These findings have implications for room placement and hospital design.

(Received June 21 2010)

(Accepted September 15 2010)


c1 3119 Taubman Center, University of Michigan Health System, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5378 (