You may be referred by your doctor or contact us directly to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our gastroenterologists or physician assistants who specialize in GI conditions. He or she will evaluate your health and may order testing of a stool sample to determine if you have active C. diff infection. If you are a candidate, the transplant will be scheduled. It may take place in the hospital if you are already hospitalized, or as an outpatient procedure.
Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is an effective treatment for adults with recurrent Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) colitis that does not respond to antibiotics or keeps coming back. C.diff is a serious infection that can lead to diarrhea, dehydration, and other potentially prolonged or severe complications. On average, this procedure has a 90% success rate and can return you to your previous health.
Evaluation and Consultation
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Process and Procedure
Donor Stool Screening Process
Donor stool is obtained from a nonprofit frozen stool bank called OpenBiome in Somerville, MA. OpenBiome's rigorous donor screening includes an extensive medical questionnaire as well as blood and stool testing before stool is accepted from a donor. The donor stool is processed on-site and shipped frozen to Duke. Having frozen donor stool on hand means we can perform transplants without significant delay.
Fecal Transplant Procedure
The fecal transplant is performed by colonoscopy by a gastroenterologist. After you are given anesthesia through an IV, a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to deliver the donated stool into your colon. Because you will be given anesthesia, you will need a driver to take you home after the procedure. The risks of the procedure are similar to those of a standard colonoscopy.
Outcomes and Cost
Studies show fecal transplants are approximately 90% successful in curing people with recurrent C.diff infections. Those who do not respond to the initial treatment may be eligible for a second transplant two weeks later to increase the chance of success.
Fecal transplants are covered by most health insurance plans.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our gastroenterology and GI surgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.