Everything You Wanted to Know About Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)

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However repulsive it may seem, difficult gut infections may require newer revolutionary treatments like FMT to eradicate prolonged and troublesome symptoms, which may have long term repercussions on the physical and mental condition of a patient.

What is FMT ?

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is when stool from a healthy donor is transferred into the gut of a different person to try to reintroduce or boost helpful organisms.

When is it done ?

FMT is only approved to treat Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection that has occurred three times despite adequate antibiotic treatment, though there is ongoing research to find out if FMT may work for other health issues.

Who Is a Candidate for FMT?

FMT may be an option for people who have had:

  • At least three episodes of mild to moderate C. diff infection that have not responded to six to eight weeks of treatment with antibiotics.
  • At least two episodes of severe C. diff infection that called for them to be admitted to the hospital.
  • Severe C. diff infection or severe colitis caused by C. diff that did not respond to antibiotics within two days.

Not everyone is a good candidate for FMT. The procedure is risky for people who are taking drugs that suppress the immune system, have had a recent bone marrow transplant, or have cirrhosis of the liver or advanced HIV or AIDS.

Who are the Stool Donors?

There are strict standards to become a stool donor.

  • Donors must be screened carefully to avoid transmitting dangerous viruses or bacteria to the person with C. diff. 
  • Doctors first screen potential donors by asking them the same questions they would ask of potential blood donors.
  • Donors will also be tested for diseases that can be spread through the blood, such as hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.
  • People who have taken antibiotics within the last three months or who have diseases or conditions of the GI tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation, should not be donors.

How is FMT done ?

Doctors use different techniques to do FMT, such as colonoscopy, enema, or infusion through an upper endoscope or nasogastric tube (NG tube; a tube the runs from your nose down into your stomach).

If the transplant is to be delivered by an NG tube, the recipient will be given medications to stop the stomach from secreting acid that can potentially kill the helpful organisms in the donor stool.

When is FMT successful ?

FMT is successful if the person with C. diff has no relapses for eight weeks. Although FMT has a high success rate, some people with stubborn C. diff may have to have more than one transplant.

Hope the above information was helpful. Consult a doctor without delay if you think your loved one needs an FMT.

 

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