For the past nine months, Middlesex Hospital gastroenterologist, Nadeem Hussain, M.D., has been working diligently with other hospital clinicians to provide a new procedure, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), to patients suffering with severe cases of Clostridium difficile bacteria. “C. difficile,” as it is better known, is an emerging epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes and primarily affects older patients during long stays in care facilities. In addition, the bacteria, which lives in the colon, is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Due in large part to requests from patients suffering from the condition and their families, Dr. Hussain, and his team, began to explore the possibility of offering the new procedure. After careful planning and diligent work to meet FDA regulations required to perform the procedure, Dr. Hussain performed the first fecal transplant to treat the dangerous and sometimes deadly C. difficile bacteria in April at Middlesex Hospital. Middlesex Hospital is only one of a few hospitals in the state that offer this groundbreaking procedure.
By transplanting fecal matter from another person into the colon (most often through a colonoscopy procedure) of the person infected with C. difficile, the “good” bacteria from the healthy donor replaces the harmful organisms in the recipient’s GI tract that have proliferated due to either antibiotics or infections. So far, Dr. Hussain has performed three fecal transplants here at Middlesex Hospital, with positive results. The procedure is performed only for patients with “refractory” C. difficile, which are the most serious cases. Although most common in older adults or those with compromised immune systems, the condition may affect people of all ages, even as young as two years old. Patients must be screened to make sure they meet the appropriate guidelines.
Usually, the benefits of the FMT occur within one to three days after the surgery. Patients are initially planned for follow-up for about one year post-surgery. Dr. Hussain reports that the three patients who underwent the surgery at Middlesex Hospital have all improved clinically to date.
Dr. Hussain adds that U.S. hospitals have been slow to adopt FMT, although it has been performed in Europe, with very good results, for some time. At Middlesex Hospital, there is much interest on the part of other GI physicians and those who specialize in infectious diseases, in addition to a strong collaboration with the Hospital laboratory. He adds that although extensive research still needs to be done in utilizing FMT for other diseases, it opens up a realm of possibilities for potentially treating conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
Dr. Hussain may be reached at:
Middlesex Gastroenterology Associates
410 Saybrook Road, Suite 201
Middletown, CT 06457