C difficile is an important cause of diarrhea among inpatients, and the numbers of new cases of the infection have been steadily increasing in recent years.
David Binion and colleagues from the USA investigated a representative sample of community hospital admissions in the US for 2003.
The sample covered 994 hospitals in 37 states and included a total of 124,570 patients.
Of these, 44,400 had been admitted with C difficile infection.
The research team reported that 77,366 had been admitted with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for short.
|IBD patients were 4 times more likely to die|
A further 2,804 had both IBD and C difficile infection
The team found those with the infection alone tended to be considerably older, and had an average age of 73.
Those with IBD had an average age of 42.
The risk of death was higher among those with C difficile infection alone or in combination with IBD than it was in those with IBD alone.
The team found that patients with both the infection and IBD were 4 times more likely to die than patients with either condition alone, irrespective of age.
The research team noted that patients with the combination also stayed in hospital 3 days longer and had higher rates of endoscopy.
Patients with ulcerative colitis had more severe C difficile than those with Crohn's and worse outcomes.
Dr Binion's team concluded, "Patients with IBD may be particularly susceptible to infection with C difficile."