The importance of abnormal platelet count in patients with clostridioides difficile infection

Shira Buchrits*, Anat Gafter-Gvili, Jihad Bishara, Alaa Atamna, Gida Ayada, Yair Eynath, Tomer Avni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) causes morbidity and mortality. Platelets have been increasingly recognized as an important component of innate and adaptive immunity. We aimed to assess the incidence of thrombocytopenia and thrombocytosis in CDI and the effect of an abnormal platelet count on clinical outcomes. Methods: This single-center, retrospective cohort study consisted of all adult patients hospitalized in Rabin Medical Center between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2018 with laboratory confirmed CDI. The primary outcome was 30-day all-cause mortality. Risk factors for 30-day all-cause mortality were identified by univariable and multivariable analyses, using logistic regression. Results: A total of 527 patients with CDI were included. Among them 179 (34%) had an abnormal platelet count: 118 (22%) had thrombocytopenia and 61 (11.5%) had thrombocytosis. Patients with thrombocytosis were similar to control patients other than having a significantly higher white blood cell count at admission. Patients with thrombocytopenia were younger than control patients and were more likely to suffer from malignancies, immunosuppression, and hematological conditions. In a multivariable analysis, both thrombocytosis (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.01–3.52) and thrombocytopenia (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.01–2.89) were associated with 30-days mortality, as well as age, hypoalbuminemia, acute kidney injury, and dependency on activities of daily living. A sensitivity analysis restricted for patients without hematological malignancy or receiving chemotherapy revealed increased mortality with thrombocytosis but not with thrombocytopenia. Conclusions: In this retrospective study of hospitalized patients with CDI, we observed an association between thrombocytosis on admission and all-cause mortality, which might represent a marker for disease severity. Patients with CDI and thrombocytopenia also exhibited increased mortality, which might reflect their background conditions and not the severity of the CDI. Future studies should assess thrombocytosis as a severity marker with or without the inclusion of the WBC count.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2957
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Clostridioides difficile
  • Mortality
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Thrombocytosis


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