TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Fecal transplants are better than antibiotics in preventing complications and saving the lives of patients with Clostridium difficile bacterial infections, a new study suggests.

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Compared with antibiotics, fecal transplants (fecal microbiota transplantation — FMT) improved patient survival by more than 30%, lowered the risk of deadly bloodstream infections (sepsis) by fourfold, and cut the length of hospital stays in half, NBC News reported.

The study was published Nov. 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Before this study, we knew that FMT was more effective than antibiotics in curing recurrent C. difficile infection, but now we know that it is also more effective in preventing C. diff-related complications,” said lead author Dr. Gianluca Ianiro, a FMT specialist at the Fondazione Policlinico Gemelli IRCCS in Rome, NBC News reported.

In FMT — which has long been used to treat antibiotic-resistant C. diff infections — processed stool from a healthy person is transplanted into the gut of the recipient.

Each year in the United States, C. diff infections make 450,000 people sick and cause 29,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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