OBJECTIVE: The incidence of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has increased rapidly over the past decade; patients undergoing major surgery, including coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), are at particular risk. Intravenous vancomycin exposure has been identified as an independent risk factor for CDI, but this is controversial. It is not known whether vancomycin administered for surgical site infection prophylaxis increases the risk of CDI. METHODS: Using data from the Premier Perspective Comparative Database, we assembled a cohort of 69,807 patients undergoing CABG surgery between 2004 and 2010 who received either a cephalosporin alone (65.1%) or a cephalosporin plus vancomycin (34.9%) on the day of surgery. Patients were observed for CDI until discharge from the index hospitalization. In these groups, we evaluated the comparative rate of postoperative CDI with Cox models; confounding was addressed using propensity scores. RESULTS: In all, 77 (0.32%) of the 24,393 patients receiving a cephalosporin plus vancomycin and 179 (0.39%) of the 45,414 patients receiving a cephalosporin alone had postoperative CDI (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-0.95). After adjusting for confounding variables with either propensity score matching or stratification, there was no meaningful association between adjuvant vancomycin exposure and postoperative CDI (HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.61-1.19; and HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.63-1.15, respectively). Results of multiple sensitivity analyses were similar to the main findings. CONCLUSIONS: After adjustment for patient and surgical characteristics, a short course of prophylactic vancomycin was not associated with an increased risk of CDI among patients undergoing CABG surgery.