Faecal transplants - Can donations cure?

ON ITS own, a case of severe or relapsing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a distressing problem.

The fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain and tenderness resulting from severe diarrhoea and associated intestinal inflammation are debilitating for the patient.

That’s why when Sydney gastroenterologist Professor Thomas Borody met Sarah,* a 14-year-old with Crohn’s disease who had just been diagnosed with C. difficile, he knew she was suffering. 

“Sarah was experiencing the severe abdominal pain, she was vomiting daily and she was visiting the toilet 15–20 times a day,” Professor Borody says.

With antibiotic agents failing to rid her of the infection, Professor Borody suggested they try faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

While the procedure may seem unpleasant to some patients – it involves the transfer of bacterial flora from the stool of a healthy donor into the