Clostridium Difficile Case Study

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Pages: 6

An 85 year old female was admitted to the ER early in the morning. Her history records showed that she had a urinary tract infection 2 weeks prior to admission. Medicines to treat a urinary tract infection include Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, Amoxicillin, and Ampicillin; all of which are antibiotics. Antibiotics can be harmful to the intestines because they may kill good bacteria along with bad bacteria; antibiotics may upset the balance of organisms living in the intestines. There are over 1,000 harmless species of microorganisms living in our intestines, if the bacteria's balance is upset, they can become fatal; an example of this is the bacteria Clostridium difficile. (
Clostridium difficile is diagnosed in patients who take antibiotics. As C. difficile overgrows it releases toxins that attack the lining of the intestines. This causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, and eventually a visit to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor will complete a full evaluation. The patient will be asked of symptoms and the length of time the pain has been occurring for. Answering these things will allow for the doctor make the correct diagnosis. (
Case Presentation
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On the morning of admission she had a fever of 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit and a blood pressure of 99/64. She had tachycardia with a heart rate of 122 beats per minute, which is twenty-two beats over the normal. The female also had a respiratory rate of 24, which is considered a few breaths above normal. The evaluation taken in the ER states she had normal lung sounds and a regular cardiac rhythm. An abdominal exam revealed normal tenderness to palpation. This information then led him to look at her history