Healthcare News & Insights

You won’t believe what they can transplant now

In an effort to battle C. difficile infections, some doctors are transplanting poop into patients. More properly known as fecal transplants, bacteriotherapy, or human probiotic infusions, involve taking stool from a donor. After the stool is screened for pathogens, filtering undigested matter and turning it into a slush, it’s administered to the patient via enemas.

It works by allowing the microbes that occur naturally in the human gut to do their work in fighting off the bacteria. C. difficile is particularly tough to treat due to a virulent strain that’s proven to be antibiotic-resistant. The fecal transplants by comparison have a 90% cure rate.

The procedure has been around since the ’80s, but is gaining wider use now as researchers test it’s ability to treat patients with other GI disorders, and even metabolic syndrome, which can often lead to diabetes.

While the transplants are effective, and relatively cheap, they’re generally considered a last resort. And because stool is not yet a marketable biologic product, the procedure isn’t federally regulated.

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