UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine; School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Chemical Actions and Uses | Geriatrics | Infectious Disease | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Therapeutics


Background: There is a reported association between proton pump inhibitor (PPI) exposure and increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), but less is known about how this class of medications taken during treatment might influence mortality after CDI. Here we examine 180-day mortality rates in a cohort of CDI elders and its association with exposure to PPIs. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of elderly patients ( > 65 years of age) diagnosed and treated for CDI in the years 2014-2016 (n = 874) in the Umass Memorial Health Care system, which represents both academic and community healthcare. Patient characteristics and medication use was extracted from the electronic medical record (EMR) and 6 month mortality data was obtained via the Center for Disease Control National Death Index. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate hazard ratios associated with medication exposures and other relevant variables.

Results: Of the 874 elderly adults treated for CDI, 180-day all-cause mortality was 12.4%. Exposure to a PPI was associated with a 55% reduced risk of mortality (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28-0.72). In our Cox model, increasing age (aHR 1.45; 95% CI 1.14-1.84), those with severe CDI infections (aHR 1.87; 95% CI 1.22-2.88), and those with hospital acquired CDI (aHR 3.01; 95% CI 1.81-4.99) also had increased 180 day mortality risk. There were similar associations noted with both 90 day and 1-year mortality.

Conclusion: Use of PPIs during CDI treatment in elderly patients is associated with decreased 180-day mortality. Although use of PPIs has been associated with an increased risk of CDI, it appears to be protective against mortality when used during the treatment phase.


Clostridium difficile, Enteric pathogens, Infectious disease, Medication safety, Proton pump inhibitors

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2019. Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

DOI of Published Version



Gut Pathog. 2019 Jun 13;11:29. doi: 10.1186/s13099-019-0309-6. eCollection 2019. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Gut pathogens


Xun Wu participated in this study as a medical student in the Senior Scholars research program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.