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Doctors perform Singapore’s first faecal transplants

SINGAPORE — Doctors have performed Singapore’s first-ever faecal transplants to help treat patients with persistent gut infections.

SINGAPORE — Doctors have performed Singapore’s first-ever faecal transplants to help treat patients with persistent gut infections.

Earlier this year, doctors from the National University Hospital (NUH) successfully treated two elderly female patients with resistant and recurrent Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infection using the technique, called a faecal microbiota transplant (FMT).

C. diff is a species of bacteria present in our gastrointestinal tract that releases toxins that damage the cell lining and intestinal walls. When the balance of our gut is disrupted during antibiotic treatment — which can kill off the good bacteria naturally present in the human gut — C. diff flourishes and causes potentially-deadly infections with severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

C. diff infections are difficult to treat because antibiotic resistance means 20 to 30 per cent of patients will not respond to antibiotic treatments. Even patients which are successfully treated with antibiotics have a recurrence rate as high as 15 to 25 per cent.

Under the new FMT treatment, good bacteria extracted from a healthy donor’s faecal sample are transplanted into the sedated patient’s gastrointestinal tract with an endoscope.

These good bacteria then begin to multiply and flourish in the recipient’s colon to help restore the normal gut ecosystem.

“FMT is a life-saving treatment with high success rate, for patients with resistant and recurrent C.diff infection and who have exhausted existing options. It is a painless and low risk procedure with minor side-effects for the recipient.” said Dr Nicholas Chew, Consultant and Clinical Director at NUH’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

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