Adverse events of fecal microbiota transplantation: a metaanalysis of high-quality studies

Authors Lamprinos Michailidis, Alden C. Currier, Michelle Le, Deborah R. Flomenhoft.


Background Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has shown excellent efficacy in treating Clostridioides difficile infection, as well as promise in several other diseases. The heightened interest is accompanied by concerns over adverse events (AE) and safety. To further understand that in FMT, we performed a systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis of highquality, prospective randomized controlled trials FMT.

Methods Studies were selected based on predefined exclusion criteria and were assessed for quality. Only prospective, randomized, controlled studies of high quality were included in the final analysis. Data were extracted on demographics, AE, indication, delivery method and followup duration.

Results Out of 334 articles reviewed, 9 high quality studies with 756 FMTs were selected for final analysis. The pooled rate of AE was 39.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.19-0.642) as they were reported by 112 patients who received FMT. The SAE rate was 5.3% (95%CI 3.1-8.8%). The most common AE reported was abdominal pain, followed by diarrhea. The most common SAE was Clostridium difficile infection. Upper gastrointestinal tract delivery was associated with a higher rate of total AE, but not SAE.

Conclusions Based on the selected studies, the AE rate of FMT is 39.3%, with most AE being mild and self-limiting. SAE were uncommon at 5.3%, and many were only possibly related to the FMT. Adherence to standardized reporting of AE as well as longitudinal studies and registries will help further clarify the safety of FMT in the future.

Keywords Fecal micobiota transplantation, adverse events, safety, meta-analysis, systematic review

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (6): 802-814

Original Articles