Faecal Microbiota Transplantation for Recurrent C. Difficile Infections

Challenges and Improvement Opportunities for Clinical Practice and Healthcare Systems

Published in: Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2022). doi: 10.1111/apt.17309

Posted on RAND.org on December 13, 2022

by Lucy Hocking, Gianluca Ianiro, Rupert W. Leong, Tariq Iqbal, Dina Kao, Mark Cabling, Stephanie Stockwell, Robert J. Romanelli, Sonja Marjanovic

Background

There is growing interest in faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a treatment for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI), but evidence on the diverse requirements for safe, effective and accessible services is fragmented and limited.

Aims

To identify key components of FMT provision relating to the patient care pathway, stool donor pathway and wider healthcare system, and to explore variation in practice.

Methods

We conducted a narrative review of the literature and consultations with key clinical experts in the field. Evidence is drawn from high-income country contexts, with an emphasis on Australia, Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom as case example countries.

Results

We identify and discuss key challenges to do with healthcare capacity (workforce, FMT and stool banking facilities), donors and donations, patient access and choice of FMT delivery routes, regulation, costs and reimbursement. We also identify improvement opportunities to increase awareness of FMT and referral processes, physician training, maintaining patient registries and outcome monitoring metrics, in-country regulatory harmonisation and tackling reimbursement challenges and discuss future research needs.

Conclusion

Effectively bringing FMT to patients in a healthcare system requires much more than just the existence of a clinically effective procedure. With FMT being a potentially effective treatment option for recurrent CDI for many patients, a well-rounded understanding of how appropriate FMT capacity can be built and nurtured is important for both healthcare providers and policymakers seeking to improve patient care.

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