Postinfection Irritable Bowel Syndrome Following Clostridioides difficile Infection: A Systematic-review and Meta-analysis

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2021 May 28. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000001536. Online ahead of print.

Srishti Saha 1, Kanika Sehgal, Sumitabh Singh, Madhusudan Grover, Darrell Pardi, Sahil Khanna


Author information

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.


Background: Postinfection irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) affects ~14% patients after acute bacterial enterocolitis.

Aim: The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to find the prevalence of PI-IBS following Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI).

Methods: We systematically searched Medline, Embase, and Web of Science from inception through January 20, 2020 for cohort studies assessing PI-IBS following CDI. Primary outcome was pooled prevalence calculated using inverse variance heterogeneity model [MetaXL (v. 5.3)]. A priori subgroup analyses were done [by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnostic criteria-Rome vs. others, time of IBS diagnosis-<6 or >6 mo, exclusion or inclusion of pre-existing IBS and CDI treatment-antibiotic with fecal microbiota transplantation vs. antibiotic only]. Heterogeneity was considered substantial if I2>50%.

Results: From 2007 to 2019, 15 studies were included (10 prospective, 5 retrospective; 9 full-text, 6 abstracts). Data from 1218 patients were included in the quantitative analysis. Risk of bias was low in 7, medium in 4 and high in 4 studies. Pooled prevalence of PI-IBS was 21.1% (95% confidence interval, 8.2%-35.7%), I2=96%. Common PI-IBS subtypes were diarrhea-predominant in 46.3% (50) patients, and mixed in 33.3% (36) patients. Subgroup analyses by IBS diagnostic criteria, time of IBS diagnosis or CDI treatment did not significantly change the primary outcome (all P>0.05), nor decrease heterogeneity. Funnel plot analysis revealed publication bias.

Conclusions: Over 20% of patients develop PI-IBS after CDI. Factors such as diagnostic criteria for IBS and CDI treatment did not affect prevalence, though small numbers limit the confidence in these conclusions. Larger, well conducted studies are needed to study PI-IBS in CDI.



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