Master Clostridium difficile with Picmonic for Medicine

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Clostridium difficile

Classroom with Differential-equations
Picmonic

Clostridium difficile is a gram-positive bacilli of the genus Clostridium, which are anaerobic, spore forming bacteria. This bacteria is known to cause severe diarrhea and other intestinal disease when the normal gut flora is killed by antibiotics, allowing proliferation of Clostridium difficile in the gut. Clostridium difficile releases two toxins that can damage the intestine. Toxin A is an enterotoxin that damages the brush border of the gut, and toxin B is a cytotoxin that induces actin depolymerization, leading to damage of the cytoskeletal structure. Together, these toxins are responsible for the inflammation and diarrhea seen in infected patients. Clostridium difficile infections almost always occur after use of broad-spectrum antibiotics like clindamycin or ampicillin. The use of antibiotics destroy the normal gut flora, allowing the gut to become overrun with C. difficile with release of large amounts of toxin. C. difficile infections are the most common cause of pseudomembranous colitis and can also lead to toxic megacolon in extreme cases. Because this bacteria is part of the normal gut flora in many patients, Clostridium difficile infection should be diagnosed via detection of toxins in the stool as opposed to culture. Treatment includes metronidazole and vancomycin. 

14 KEY FACTS
CHARACTERISTICS
Gram-Positive
Graham-cracker Positive-angel

This bacteria stains gram-positive, which means that it retains large amounts of the Gram stain due to its high peptidoglycan content in the cell wall.

Bacillus
Rod

This bacteria is rod-shaped.

Anaerobe
Ant-robe

This bacteria prefers to grow in an anaerobic environment.

Clindamycin and Ampicillin
Cleaning-mice and Amp-pencil

Clostridium difficile is known to cause severe diarrhea when the normal gut flora is killed by antibiotics like clindamycin and ampicillin.

Toxin A Enterotoxin
Apple with Toxic-green-glow

Toxin A is an enterotoxin released by Clostridium difficile that damages the brush border of the gut.

Damages Brush Border of Gut
Damaged toilet Brush

Toxin A is an enterotoxin released by Clostridium difficile that damages the brush border of the gut.

Toxin B Cytotoxin
Bee with Side-toe-toxic-green

Toxin B is a cytotoxin released by Clostridium difficile that induces actin depolymerization, leading to damage of the cytoskeletal structure.

Damages Cytoskeletal Structure
Damaged Cytoskeleton (actin and microtubule filaments) of toilet

Toxin B is a cytotoxin released by Clostriidum difficile that induces actin depolymerization, leading to damage of the cytoskeletal structure.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Diarrhea
Toilet

Watery diarrhea is a common symptom of C. difficile infection. Any patient in the hospital with new onset of severe watery diarrhea after antibiotic use should be evaluated for a C. difficile infection.

Pseudomembranous Colitis
Sumo-man-bra Colon

An infection of the colon characterized by foul smelling diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Pseudomembranous colitis is often associated with Clostridium difficile.

Toxic Megacolon
Mega Colon Character

In severe cases of pseudomembranous colitis, life-threatening complications like toxic megacolon can develop. Toxic megacolon is characterized by extreme dilation of the colon and can lead to perforation of the colon.

DIAGNOSIS
Detect Toxins in Stool
Test tube with Toxins and Stool

Because this bacteria is part of the normal gut flora in many patients, Clostridium difficile infection should be diagnosed via detection of toxins in the stool as opposed to culture.

TREATMENT
Metronidazole
Metro-knight

Metronidazole can be used to kill anaerobic bacteria and is often used in the first line treatment against Clostridium difficile.

Vancomycin
Van-tank-mice

Vancomycin is second line treatment for mild to moderate cases of C. difficile but is recommended as first line treatment in severe disease. It is important to note vancomycin should be administered orally because intravenous administration does not achieve minimum therapeutic concentration in the gut lumen.

Unlock all 14 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Clostridium difficile Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Medical (MD/DO) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 870,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Medical (MD/DO) student study app.

Picmonic for Medicine (MD/DO) covers information that is relevant to your entire Medical (MD/DO) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Medical (MD/DO) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.