Fecal Microbiota Transplant

Having a clostridium difficile infection is nearly indescribable to those who have suffered from it. The infection significantly interrupts lives, often keeping people homebound and unable to participate in even the most simple of life's joys.

Fortunately, there is a highly successful treatment for patients, which involves something many people would never have thought could work (or imagined having it done to them).

Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) resolves the infection in roughly 90 percent of all patients.

About C. Difficile.

Clostridium difficile or C. difficile infections have nearly doubled the past 15 years – currently, there are 700,000 cases per year. Up to 20 percent of patients have relapsing symptoms or fail antibiotic therapy.

What is Fecal Microbiota Transplant?

FMT, also known as fecal transplantation or stool transplant, is a medical procedure where stool is collected from a healthy tested donor, strained and then transferred into a patient suffering from C. difficile infection. Fecal microbiota transplant is performed for patients with recurrent or severe C. diff infections when antibiotic therapy has failed.

How does a FMT work?

Bacteria and other microorganisms are always present in the GI tract and many are necessary to maintain good health (we have 100 trillion bacteria in our intestines). Antibiotics can disrupt the balance in the GI tract and allow infectious bacteria like C. diff to take over. A fecal microbiota transplant involves placing good bacteria back into the colon to stop the overgrowth of C. diff. This "bacterial broth" is basically an immense probiotic treatment.

How is a FMT performed?

At Missouri Baptist, our gastroenterologists prefer performing FMT during a colonoscopy, which appears to have a higher success rate than other methods (enema, nasogastric tube or upper endoscopy). During the procedure, you will be given an IV with a sedative to help you relax and fall asleep. You should not feel anything during the procedure. FMT is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.

How do I find a stool donor?

Most patients look to family as donors, but any healthy person may donate. The best donor is a healthy first-degree relative.

Once a donor has been found, the donor must be screened and tested to make sure their stool is healthy. The donor cannot have any of the following:

  • Antibiotics use in the past six months
  • Autoimmune or chronic gastrointestinal diseases or disorders
  • A tattoo or body piercing in the past six months
  • A history of IV drug use
  • High-risk sexual behavior

Other medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, also may prevent someone from becoming a donor.

Is a FMT safe?

Currently, there are no documented cases of infection transmitted through a fecal transplant procedure. Donors are extensively screened and tested to be sure there are no signs of infection in the blood or stool.

Risks of developing autoimmune diseases may be reduced when your donor is a relative. While all donors are screened to make sure they are healthy and carry no diseases, an unrelated donor may have bacteria that do not interact well with your own genetics. If possible, a donor who is a parent or child works best.

What is the success rate of a FMT?

Fecal microbiota transplant has an 84-93 percent success rate treating recurrent C. diff infection in patients in the United States. A recent study showed patients who had am FMT via a colonoscopy experienced a 93 percent success rate, compared to nasal tube or enemas, which were only 86 percent and 84 percent successful respectively. Only colonoscopy transfer is approved at Missouri Baptist.

How long before I get better?

Generally, patients feel better within two days.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 314-996-4343 or contact us online.

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