Fecal Transplants Used More To Cure Intestinal Infections, Even In Children
Recent studies and successes say that fecal transplants are becoming a preferred treatment to cure certain intestinal infections, even among children. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
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Eight-year-old Alesky Magno was born with muscular dystrophy. Four years ago, he contracted a dangerous intestinal infection caused by the clostridium difficile bacteria, also known as C-diff.
"Antibiotics weren't working for him," Guillermina Magno, Alesky's mother and a donor of a fecal transplant patient, said through an interpreter. "They were producing changes in his daily life. And every time he would eat, he would get diarrhea."
Magno's doctor at New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital suggested a treatment rarely done on children: transplanting a healthy person's feces, full of good bacteria, into the infected colon.
It was a risk that the Magnos say was worth taking.
"After the transplant, his daily life got much better," Paz Magno, Aleksy's father, said through an interpreter. "Now, he doesn't have pain."
A recent New England Journal of Medicine Study found that fecal transplants are a significantly more effective treatment for C-diff than the antibiotic, vancomycin.
The study, though, focused on adults with the infection. There's still little research done with children, which is why pediatric gastroenterologist Norelle Rizkalla-Reilly said hospitals are more hesitant to do the procedure on kids.
"Here at Columbia, we do it through a colonoscopy, and there’s risks associated with that procedure," Rizkalla-Reilly said. "But so far, in all of the knowledge that we have from the literature that’s been published, we believe it to be very safe."
To alleviate some of the concerns about the risk of transmitting infections through the donor stool, Rizkalla-Reilly uses parents, like Mrs. Magno, as donors.
"There’s sort of the 'ick' factor, where people are squeamish, and I think that includes physicians as well as patients," Rizkalla-Reilly said. "But I found that the majority of families who’ve come to me looking for a fecal transplant have surmounted that."
"For everything he went through for me, it was nothing," Guillermina Magno said through an interpreter. "The only thing I said was "OK!" If it's going to bring him good things, then great."