The Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Program, part of the Capital Health Center for Digestive Health, helps people affected by Clostridium difficile (or C. diff), a germ that can cause diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal pain/tenderness. The program, which began in 2016, is led by Dr. Marion-Anna Protano, a fellowship trained gastroenterologist.
C. diff occurs most frequently among people exposed to antibiotics, the elderly, people with inflammatory bowel disease, or those recently hospitalized or in a rehab facilty. However, C. diff is on the rise in the community. Treatment of an initial episode of C. diff infection is antibiotics that specifically target C. diff.
For patients who aren’t responding to antibiotic treatment or are experiencing recurring episodes, C. diff can be debilitating. In coordination with referring physicians and gastroenterologists, Dr. Protano performs fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) via colonoscopy to instill healthy stool from a donor into the diseased colon. The reintroduction of normal bacteria via donor stool corrects the imbalance of the microbiota that occurs with C. diff and helps clear the infection. Some patients may require several rounds of treatment.
Our FMT team works closely with OpenBiome, a nationally renowned non-profit organization founded by doctors, scientists, and public health advocates to expand safe access to FMT. OpenBiome manages the complex stool donation program that provides the rigorously screened fecal microbiota preparations that our program uses to treat patients.
Dr. Protano performs FMT via colonoscopy, which offers a more thorough examination of the infected colon and has been shown to be more effective than enemas, endoscopic or nasogastric techniques. For patients who are unable to tolerate the preparation that is required for colonoscopy, the procedure can also be performed endoscopically.
The Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Program is part of the range of digestive health services available at the Capital Health Center for Digestive Health, which offers advanced care for patients in the Mercer, Burlington, and Bucks County areas and beyond.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - C. dif FAQs