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Antibiotic prophylaxis to reduce respiratory tract infections and mortality in adults receiving intensive care

  1. Roberto D'Amico1,*,
  2. Silvia Pifferi2,
  3. Valter Torri3,
  4. Luca Brazzi4,
  5. Elena Parmelli5,
  6. Alessandro Liberati6,†

Editorial Group: Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group

Published Online: 7 OCT 2009

Assessed as up-to-date: 13 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000022.pub3

How to Cite

D'Amico R, Pifferi S, Torri V, Brazzi L, Parmelli E, Liberati A. Antibiotic prophylaxis to reduce respiratory tract infections and mortality in adults receiving intensive care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000022. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000022.pub3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Statistics Unit, Department of clinical and diagnostic medicine and public health, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy, Modena, Italy

  2. 2

    Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Milano, Italy

  3. 3

    Mario Negri Institute, Laboratorio di Epidemiologia Clinica, Milano, Milano, Italy

  4. 4

    Università degli Studi di Sassari, Dipartimento di Scienze Chirurgiche, Microchirurgiche e Mediche, Sassari, Italy

  5. 5

    University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Oncology, Hematology and Respiratory Diseases, Modena, Italy

  6. 6

    Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Italian Cochrane Centre, Milan, Italy

  1. Deceased

*Roberto D'Amico, Statistics Unit, Department of clinical and diagnostic medicine and public health, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, Modena, 41121, Italy. roberto.damico@unimore.it.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: Edited (no change to conclusions)
  2. Published Online: 7 OCT 2009

SEARCH

 

Background

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
 

Description of the condition

Infections acquired in the intensive care unit (ICU), especially pneumonia, are important complications of the treatment of critically ill patients, increasing morbidity and mortality. The incidence of pneumonia has been reported to vary from 7% to more than 40% in ICU patients (Chevret 1996; Fagon 1996). The mortality rate for patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) may exceed 50%. Although not all deaths in patients with pneumonia are directly attributable to pneumonia, it has been shown to contribute to ICU mortality, independently of other factors that are also strongly associated with deaths in these patients (Fagon 1996). In a case-controlled study an increase in mortality of 27% attributable to pneumonia was evidenced in ventilated patients (Fagon 1996).

 

Description of the intervention

Considerable efforts have been made to evaluate methods for reducing respiratory tract infections (RTIs). One strategy involves the use of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD). Different SDD protocols have been used in different trials and investigators often disagree on which is the most appropriate definition of SDD. Traditionally, SDD indicates a method designed to prevent infection by eradicating and preventing carriage of aerobic, potentially pathogenic micro-organisms from the oropharynx, stomach and gut. It consists of antimicrobials applied topically to the oropharynx through a nasogastric tube. In some trials systemic antibiotic therapy has been added in the first days after the patients' admission to prevent 'early' infections.

 

How the intervention might work

The use of oral non-absorbable antibiotics was first reported by Stoutenbeek (Stoutenbeek 1994) in an SDD protocol based upon a group of multiple trauma patients. The incidence of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection was reduced from 81% to 16% in a non-randomised comparison with an historical control group. Further studies tested the efficacy of SDD in ICU patients, with infection-related morbidity as the main endpoint. The results showed that SDD reduced infection but it was not clear whether there was a reduction in mortality.

Between 1991 and 2008 nine different systematic review and meta-analyses (D'Amico 1998; Heyland 1994; Hurley 1995; Kollef 1994; Nathens 1999; Redman 2001; Silvestri 2007; SDD Group 1993; Vanderbrouk-Gra 1991) on the effect of SDD on RTIs and mortality were published. Their results are summarised in the table below.


SRN° of studiesN° of patientsMortalityRTIs

Vanderbrouk-Gra 1991

 
6491Odds ratio (OR) 0.70
95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.45 to 1.09
OR 0.12
95% CI 0.08 to 0.19

SDD Group 1993224142OR 0.90
95% CI 0.79 to 1.04
OR 0.37
95% CI 0.31 to 0.43

Heyland 1994243312Risk ratio (RR) 0.87
95% CI 0.79 to 0.97
RR 0.46
95% CI 0.39 to 0.56

Kollef 1994162270Risk difference (RD) 0.019
95% CI - 0.016 to 0.054
Pneumonia
RD 0.145
95% CI 0.116 to 0.174

Tracheobronchitis
RD 0.052
95% CI 0.017 to 0.087

Hurley 1995263768OR 0.86
95% CI 0.74 to 0.99
OR 0.35
95% CI 0.30 to 0.42

D'Amico 1998335727Topical plus systemic (16 trials; 3361 pts)
OR 0.80
95% CI 0.69 to 0.93

Topical alone (17 trials; 2366 pts)
OR 1.01
95% CI 0.84 to 1.22
Topical plus systemic (16 trials; 3361 pts)
OR 0.35
95% CI 0.29 to 0.41

Topical alone (17 trials; 2366 pts)
OR 0.56
95% CI 0.46 to 0.68

Nathens 1999

 
21Not reportedSurgical patients
OR 0.7
95% CI 0.52 to 0.93

Medical patients
OR 0.91
95% CI 0.71 to 1.18
NA

Redman 2001

 
Not reportedNot reportedNAVentilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
OR 0.36
95% CI 0.28 to 0.46

Silvestri 2007518065OR 0.8
95% CI 0.69 to 0.94
NA



All studies assessing RTIs confirmed their statistically significant reduction, though the magnitude of the treatment effect varied from one review to another probably due to different numbers of studies and inclusion criteria among them. The estimated impact on overall mortality was less evident.

This is an update to the previous version published in The Cochrane Library which included trials published up to 2003.

 

Objectives

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

To determine whether antibiotic prophylaxis reduces RTIs and overall mortality in adult patients treated in ICUs.

Specifically, the main question left unanswered by existing randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and previous meta-analyses was whether different forms of antibiotic prophylaxis (that is, topical antimicrobials or a combination of topical and systemic drugs) are effective in reducing overall mortality.

 

Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
 

Criteria for considering studies for this review

 

Types of studies

RCTs on antibiotic prophylaxis for preventing RTIs and deaths in adult ICU patients.

 

Types of participants

Adult patients admitted to an ICU. Studies based on specific pre-selected types of patients (that is, patients undergoing elective oesophageal resection, cardiac or gastric surgery, liver transplant or suffering from acute liver failure) were excluded because these patients need co-interventions that may interact with the main treatment. Studies where the majority of patients (> 50%) did not undergo mechanical ventilation for more than 48 hours were also excluded. The characteristics of excluded studies are reported in the 'Characteristics of excluded studies' table.

 

Types of interventions

Available RCTs have been grouped into two categories, defined according to the type of antibiotic prophylaxis:

  1. studies where a combination of systemic and topical antibiotics was tested against no prophylactic treatment (thereafter referred to as 'topical plus systemic versus no prophylaxis'); and
  2. studies where the experimental treatment tested was a topical preparation applied in the oropharynx (thereafter referred to as 'topical versus control').

For further details about preparation and administration of antibiotic prophylaxis see the 'Characteristics of included studies' table.

In this latter category two RCT subgroups have been lumped together, that is, those where topical antibiotics were tested against an untreated control group and those where the combination of topical plus systemic drugs was compared with a protocol based on a systemic antimicrobial only.

Any topical or systemic antimicrobial combination (that is: type of drugs) was accepted, because there was no data to assume a difference in effect among the considered prophylactic treatments. This obviously does not mean that all topical and systemic regimens are truly equivalent, but simply reflects our pragmatic working assumption.

 

Types of outcome measures

 

Primary outcomes

Primary outcome measures considered for this review were RTIs and overall mortality.

No restriction was made on the type of RTIs considered, or on the RTIs diagnostic criteria chosen by the trialists. Both tracheobronchitis and pneumonia were acceptable. Pragmatically, both primary (diagnosed within 48 hours from admission) and acquired (diagnosed after 48 hours from admission) infections were considered, even though we used data on acquired infections (the most appropriate outcome to assess treatment effect) when both pieces of information were available. Mortality was evaluated at hospital discharge if this information was provided; otherwise mortality in ICU was used.

 

Search methods for identification of studies

 

Electronic searches

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2009, issue 1); MEDLINE (January 1966 to March 2009); and EMBASE (January 1990 to March 2009).

MEDLINE was searched using the following search strategy in conjunction with the Cochrane Highly Sensitive Search Strategy for identifying randomised trials in MEDLINE: sensitivity- and precision-maximising version (2008 revision); Ovid format (Lefebvre 2008). The same strategy was used to search CENTRAL and adapted to search EMBASE.com (see Appendix 1).

MEDLINE (Ovid)
1 exp Respiratory Tract Infections/
2 respiratory tract infection*.tw.
3 exp Pneumonia/
4 pneumon*.tw.
5 (HAP or VAP).tw.
6 bronchopneumonia*.tw.
7 pleuropneumonia*.tw.
8 exp Bronchitis/
9 bronchit*.tw.
10 bronchiolit*.tw.
11 exp Pharyngitis/
12 pharyngit*.tw.
13 Tracheitis/
14 tracheit*.tw.
15 or/1-14
16 exp Intensive Care Units/
17 icu.tw.
18 exp Critical Care/
19 critical care.tw.
20 intensive care.tw.
21 burn unit*.tw.
22 care unit*.tw.
23 recovery room*.tw.
24 Critical Illness/
25 (critic* adj ill*).tw.
26 exp Ventilators, Mechanical/
27 mechanical ventilat*.tw.
28 ventilator*.tw.
29 Respiration, Artificial/
30 artificial respiration*.tw.
31 respirator*.tw.
32 or/16-31
33 15 and 32
34 Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated/
35 33 or 34
36 Antibiotic Prophylaxis/
37 exp Anti-Bacterial Agents/
38 antibiotic*.tw.
39 or/36-38
40 35 and 39

 

Searching other resources

There were no language or publication restrictions. We searched reference lists of articles from January 1984 to March week 1 2009 and proceedings of scientific meetings from January 1984 to April 2002. We also contacted investigators in the field. We evaluated other studies listed in previous meta-analyses. We did not make any formal enquiries through pharmaceutical companies. We stopped the search for conference proceedings after the early phase of this review in 2002 when we decided that in subsequent updates we will include new data only if reported in fully published papers.

 

Data collection and analysis

 

Selection of studies

Three review authors (LB, EP, SP) independently screened the titles and abstracts of all the references retrieved by the search strategy. The full text of relevant studies were assessed independently to determine whether they met the inclusion criteria. Disagreements were resolved by discussion with the two review authors (AL, RD).

 

Data extraction and management

Three review authors (LB, EP, SP) independently extracted data from all the included studies using an ad hoc extraction form. Disagreements were solved by discussion with two review authors (AL, RD).

 

Assessment of risk of bias in included studies

At least two review authors (LB, EP, SP) independently assessed the methodological validity of selected trials according to two quality criteria:

  • quality of randomisation procedures ('adequate' versus 'unclear, inadequate or not done' which will be referred hereafter as 'not adequate'); and
  • blinding of patients and doctors to allocated treatment ('double-blind' versus 'open').

We resolved outstanding issues by consensus.

Only RCTs were accepted in order to prevent possible selection bias. Studies including adult patients admitted to an ICU were included. Studies based on specific pre-selected types of patients (that is, patients undergoing elective oesophageal resection, cardiac or gastric surgery, liver transplant or suffering from acute liver failure) were excluded.

 

Measures of treatment effect

Crude proportions of RTIs and mortality were our main treatment end-points. Odds ratios (OR) for each trial and for each outcome were calculated and they were summarised by using the fixed-effect model, whereas the random-effects model was used in cases of statistically significant heterogeneity (P = 0.1). We also computed the number of ICU patients who need to be treated in order to prevent one infection and one death. The calculation was based on the median rates of RTIs and deaths in untreated controls and the common OR for all trials.

 

Dealing with missing data

We contacted study investigators in order to obtain data for intention-to-treat analysis. In 25 out of 36 studies we obtained data on patients lost to follow-up while for the remaining 11 studies we relied on published information only.

 

Data synthesis

Results from the trials were combined using a fixed-effect model to calculate odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous data. In case of statistically significant heterogeneity a random-effects model was used.

The number needed to treat to benefit (NNTB) was calculated.

 

Subgroup analysis and investigation of heterogeneity

Two pre-specified subgroup analyses based on quality criteria were carried out within the two main groups of RCTs specified above:

  • quality of randomisation procedures; and
  • blinding of patients and doctors to allocated treatment.

 

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
 

Description of studies

See: Characteristics of included studies; Characteristics of excluded studies.

 

Results of the search

Sixty potentially eligible RCTs were identified from the electronic searches.

 

Included studies

Thirty-six RCTs were finally included, all of them were published (34 as full reports and two in abstract form). Seventeen RCTs compared topical and systemic antibiotic treatment versus no treatment or placebo; 14 RCTs compared topical treatment to no treatment or placebo; and five trials compared topical and systemic antibiotic treatment versus systemic antibiotic only.

We included two studies (Gaussorgues 1991; Laggner 1994) among the 'topical SDD plus systemic antibiotic versus systemic antibiotic only' group even if their design did not explicitly foresee the use of systemic antibiotics because all patients in both arms were treated with systemic antibiotics on admission. Similarly, we included the Jacobs (Jacobs 1992) study among the 'topical SDD plus systemic antibiotics versus control' group because more than 90% of patients received a systemic antibiotic on admission.

The four studies with a three-arm comparison were analysed as follows. In two studies (Aerdts 1991; Verwaest 1997) the two control groups were pooled together and compared to the treatment group. In another study (Lingnau 1997) we split the study into two comparisons in which two different treatment arms were compared to the same control arm. In one study (Palomar 1997) one of the two control arms was excluded because patients received only sucralfate. Another study (Camus 2005) was a four-arm factorial design in which we considered only two arms comparing antibiotic prophylaxis versus placebo.

Overall, the total number of patients randomised to either antibiotic prophylaxis versus placebo or no treatment was 6914. The final meta-analysis was based upon 36 trials with 37 comparisons.

Two studies (Cerra 1992; Gaussorgues 1991) could not contribute to the RTIs analysis as they reported the number of episodes of RTIs and not the number of infected patients. Moreover, one trial (de Jonge 2003) did not assess RTIs as an endpoint.

Mortality was evaluated in ICU in 24 trials; hospital mortality was available only for six RCTs; two trials reported mortality in both ICU and hospital (de Jonge 2003; Georges 1994) and the exact time of assessment of mortality was not determined in four trials (Cerra 1992; Jacobs 1992; Kerver 1988; Pneumatikos 2002).

Most RCTs included general ICU patients. A few trials included mostly trauma (Boland 1991; Georges 1994; Lingnau 1997; Pneumatikos 2002; Quinio 1995; Stoutenbeek 1996; Stoutenbeek 2007) or surgical patients (Cerra 1992; Krueger 2002).

One-hundred percent of patients were mechanically ventilated in 26 studies; this percentage was lower in six trials (Brun-Buisson 1989; Blair 1991; Cockerill 1992; de Jonge 2003; Ulrich 1989; Winter 1992) and unknown in four (Camus 2005; Cerra 1992; Finch 1991; Krueger 2002). In Brun-Buisson's study (Brun-Buisson 1989) the percentage of ventilated patients was very low (59%) probably because the setting of the study included both 'acute' and 'intermediate' areas of a medical ICU.

The percentage of immunocompromised patients was usually lower than 10%; it was higher only in four trials (Brun-Buisson 1989; Finch 1991; Gastinne 1992; Laggner 1994). Sucralfate was routinely used in all patients for stress ulcer prophylaxis in nine trials (Abele-Horn 1997; Bergmans 2001; Ferrer 1994; Gaussorgues 1991; Jacobs 1992; Krueger 2002; Laggner 1994; Quinio 1995; Verwaest 1997). In many RCTs only RTIs acquired in ICU (that is, diagnosed after 48 hours from admission) were considered. Data on primary and acquired infections were considered together only in three trials (Boland 1991; Stoutenbeek 1996; Stoutenbeek 2007). Most studies (26 RCTs) evaluated only the occurrence of pneumonia, while seven RCTs also evaluated tracheobronchitis; information was lacking in three RCTs. Diagnostic criteria differed across trials. Few trial authors provided quantitative details on the cut-off point used as positive bacteriological confirmation.

 

Excluded studies

Twenty-six trials were excluded (see 'Charateristics of excluded studies' table) (Arnow 1996; Barret 2001; Bion 1994; Bouter 2002; de la Cal 2005; de Smet 2009; Flaherty 1990; Garbino 2002; Hellinger 2002; Hunefeld 1989; Jacobs 1995; Lipman 1994; Luiten 1995; Martinez 1994; Martinez-Pellus 1993; Nardi 2001; Rayes 2002; Rolando 1996; Ruza 1998; Lenhart 1994; Stoutenbeek 2; Schardey 1997; Smith 1993; Tetteroo 1990; Zobel 1991; Zwaveling 2002).

 

Risk of bias in included studies

Study quality was assessed looking at two criteria. These two quality criteria were used to perform one-way subgroup analyses for two treatment comparisons (topical plus systemic versus no treatment and topical alone versus no treatment) on the two main outcomes (RTIs and overall mortality).

 

Allocation

A = adequate; B = unclear; C = inadequate; D = not used. Allocation concealment was evaluated according to the criteria in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (Higgins 2008).

 

Blinding

Double-blind, open.

 

Effects of interventions

 

RTIs

Results from 33 RCTs including 5697 patients were available for the analysis on the effects of different types of antibiotic prophylaxis on RTIs. The frequency of RTIs was 19% among treated patients and 40% among controls in RCTs using a combination of topical plus systemic antibiotic and 20% and 31%, respectively, in RCTs testing the effectiveness of topical prophylaxis. Overall, the ORs were less than 1 in all but two trials (Lingnau 1997; Wiener 1995) and reached conventional statistical significance (P < 0.05) in 22/34 comparisons.

Since statistically significant heterogeneity was observed, a random-effects model was used to summarise study results. Results indicate a strong protective effect in RCTs where the combination of topical and systemic treatment (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.38) was tested. A significant protection emerged when topical prophylaxis was considered (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.31 to 0.63). The effect was stronger in RCTs where topical antimicrobials were tested against no prophylaxis (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.55). Less extreme results were observed in trials testing the combination of topical and systemic antibiotic against systemic prophylaxis (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.13).

These results indicate that four (95% CI 3 to 5) or seven (95% CI 6 to 12) patients need to be treated to prevent at least one infection, depending on whether a combination of topical and systemic treatment or topical antimicrobials alone were tested (assuming, as baseline risk, the median values of 46% and 27%, respectively, among control patients).

Regarding the pre-defined subgroup analyses, a statistically significant difference in the estimates of treatment effect was only found for quality of allocation concealment in the topical versus control comparison.

 

Mortality

Overall, 36 RCTs including 6,914 patients were available for the mortality analysis. The mortality was 24% among treated patients and 30% among controls on RCTs using a combination of topical plus systemic antibiotic; while it was 26% and 25% respectively in RCTs testing the effectiveness of topical SDD. The ORs were less than 1 in 26/38 comparisons but reached conventional statistical significance in three RCTs (de Jonge 2003; Krueger 2002; Stoutenbeek 1996); no trial showed a significant harmful effect of antibiotic prophylaxis.

Regarding mortality no statistically significant heterogeneity was observed among study results.

Results indicated a statistically significant reduction in mortality attributable to the use of a combination of topical and systemic treatment (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.87). This suggests that 18 patients (95% CI 12 to 36) (assuming a baseline risk of 29%, median among control patients) need to be treated to prevent one death. On the other hand, no treatment effect emerged when RCTs testing topical antimicrobials were analysed (OR 0.97; 95% CI 0.82 to 1.16).

The subgroup analyses produced the following results:

 
Topical versus control

Allocation concealment: adequate (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.27 to 1.52), not adequate (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.18).
Blind design: double blind (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.20), open (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.37).

 
Topical plus systemic versus no prophylaxis

Allocation concealment: adequate (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.90), not adequate (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.93).
Blind design: double blind (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.83), open (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.68 to 0.95).

 

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

Since antibiotic prophylaxis based on SDD was introduced as a preventative measure against infection in critically ill patients, it has remained a controversial intervention (Stoutenbeek 1994). Due to the lack of a standard protocol and insufficient patient numbers, it has proved difficult to derive meaningful conclusions from individual clinical trials. Following initial enthusiasm from results of early uncontrolled studies and RCTs, antibiotic prophylaxis is not widely used as a routine treatment in ICUs. Concerns about the risk of antimicrobial resistance and increased costs are often quoted as important factors preventing its widespread adoption. A conservative attitude in introducing a new treatment into practice is understandable as long as doubts about its efficacy exist. Studies on prevention of VAP in ICU patients are complex, as patients are heterogeneous, diagnosis of pneumonia is controversial and outcomes depend upon a variety of factors. Despite the fact that antibiotic prophylaxis reduces the emergence of RTIs with remarkable consistency across individual trials, the effect on mortality was individually statistically significant in only three trials. An historical examination of review articles and editorials in this area indicates that for many years it was not fully realised that this could have been due to the small sample sizes of individual studies.

The meta-analysis reported here combines data across several studies in order to estimate treatment effects with more precision than is possible in a single study. The main limitation of this type of pooled analysis is that the patient population, the antibiotic regimen and the outcome definitions are not the same across studies. Nonetheless, we believe that it provides the best global picture of the effectiveness of the intervention despite some recent criticisms on the quality of primary studies and their combination (van Nieuwenhove 2001) which we feel we have convincingly addressed (Liberati 2001). Compared to the other six published meta-analyses (Heyland 1994; Hurley 1995; Kollef 1994; Nathens 1999; SDD Group 1993; Vanderbrouk-Gra 1991) we decided in our previously published review (D'Amico 1998) to analyse separately trials testing a combination of systemic and topical antibiotics and those testing topical antimicrobials. Though there is no consensus on the best way to classify antibiotic prophylaxis regimens, eventually it seemed more appropriate to consider the two groups of trials as two distinct approaches to antibiotic prophylaxis. This decision was made a priori, independently of knowing their results.

As already shown in our previous review (D'Amico 1998) and confirmed in this update, both types of prophylaxis have a strong protective effect on RTIs - with the effect being more marked when patients are treated with a protocol using topical plus systemic antibiotics. This effect looks consistent in all subgroup analyses, regardless of study design (adequate / not adequate allocation concealment, double-blind / open design). Overall, these results appear convincing even though it is acknowledged that no diagnostic test or procedure is ideal to diagnose RTIs in ICU patients.

More importantly, this updated review confirms that the use of a combination of topical and systemic antibiotics reduces overall mortality significantly. This treatment effect looks important from a clinical and public health point of view (in terms of the therapeutic implications for the care of ventilated patients in ICUs) and is also relevant from the scientific standpoint, as it suggests the future directions that research in this field should take.

Publication bias is unlikely to have influenced our results because we made a thorough effort to trace unpublished studies and because the vast majority of trials did not show statistically significant reduction in mortality on their own. Moreover, inspection of the relevant funnel plot for overall mortality reduction in patients receiving the combined treatment (see additional analysis, Figure 1) does not provide evidence of publication bias. Finally, if one ranks studies by their size, larger ones are those showing a statistically significant treatment effect on their own.

 FigureFigure 1.

 

Authors' conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

 

Implications for practice

This systematic review indicates that a protocol testing a combination of topical and systemic antibiotics reduces the occurrence of RTIs and overall mortality. These results were initially obtained in an individual patient meta-analysis reported elsewhere (D'Amico 1998), which we have now updated using data reported in trials published between 1999 and 2007. The yield of the treatment expressed in terms of patients needed to be treated to prevent one infection and one death is substantial - 4 and 18 respectively - and compares very favourably with several interventions largely used in clinical practice. Though 11/17 trials used an identical regimen, including polymyxin, tobramycin and amphotericin as the topical combination and cefotaxime as the systemic component (Abele-Horn 1997; Blair 1991; de Jonge 2003; Ferrer 1994; Hammond 1992; Jacobs 1992; Kerver 1988; Palomar 1997; Rocha 1992; Stoutenbeek 1996; Stoutenbeek 2007), this review does not allow a unique regimen to be recommended. The use of a prophylaxis testing topical antimicrobials is, on the other hand, not warranted by available data.

Results of this review should be carefully considered by those who have been sceptical about the effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis, mostly on the grounds of a potentially harmful effect in terms of antibiotic resistance (Collard 2003). Moreover, important new information has become available in a large randomised trial (de Jonge 2003) that was the first to be formally designed to reliably assess the occurrence of antibiotic resistance by randomising ICUs rather than patients and monitoring the units for more than two years after the inception of treatment use: de Jonge et al reported that no patients were colonised with meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, only 1% was colonised with vancomicin-resistant enterococcus and in 16% and 26% (in SDD and control patients, respectively) colonisation with gram negative bacteria resistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, polymyxin E and tobramycin occurred (de Jonge 2003).

We believe that insufficient data on cost-effectiveness and antibiotic resistance should stimulate future research rather than preventing the adoption of a seemingly effective intervention. The impact of antibiotic prophylaxis on costs has so far been evaluated only rarely and, more importantly, in an improper way (the analysis being essentially based on comparisons of lengths of stay and computation of charges due to antibiotic use). A proper economic analysis is, on the other hand, likely to be difficult in a highly specialised setting such as an ICU, given that it is hard to quantify the relative contribution of single procedures.

 
Implications for research

The number of RCTs so far conducted on antibiotic prophylaxis is substantial and provides sufficient statistical power to detect a moderate but humanly worthwhile effect of the treatment on mortality. According to this systematic review, the combination of topical and systemic antibiotics should be the standard against which new treatments should be tested. A logical next step for future trials would be the comparison of this protocol against a regimen based on a systemic antimicrobial only; only six trials included in this review chose this as their study design. However, it is unlikely that one or more even large conventional trial can satisfy the concerns of those who are afraid that antimicrobial resistance may occur as a consequence of widespread use of antibiotics. However, the trial by de Jonge (de Jonge 2003) has shown that trials with innovative designs are possible and that they allow for a more reliable assessment of the occurrence of antibiotic resistance.

At the current stage of development of this intervention there does not seem to be a commercial interest by pharmaceutical companies to support further trials. Similarly, the intensivists' community seems rather sceptical about the merits of the intervention and it is not willing to embark on new, properly designed and conducted studies.

A systematic analysis of the quality and reliability of existing data on resistance might, in this sense, be important to get a more comprehensive view of the yield of the treatment. Such a review should be carried out even though it is highly likely that the necessary harms data are not available in published trials.

 

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

This systematic review would have not been possible without the continuous and enthusiastic support of most of the trials investigators. They collaborated in the different phases of this review up to the publication of our earlier review (D'Amico 1998) by providing information on the design and conduct of their studies, checking the accuracy of the data before the final analysis, attending a meeting where preliminary results were presented and, finally, reviewing earlier drafts of the manuscript. They are listed below:
M Abele-Horn 1997 (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munich, Germany); SJA Aerdts 1991 (Sophia Hospital, Zwolle, The Netherlands); P Blair 1991, B J Rowlands, H Webb and K Lowry (Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland); JP Boland 1991, D Sadler, A Stewart and J Pollock (Health Science Center Charlestone, West Virginia University, West Virginia, USA); C Brun-Buisson 1989 (Hopital Henry Mondor, Creteil, France); FB Cerra 1992 (University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, Minneapolis, USA); FR Cockerill 1992 and RL Thompson (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA); M Ferrer 1992 and A Torres (Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain); RG Finch 1991, P Tomlinson and G Rocker (Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom); H Gastinne 1992 (on behalf of the French study group on Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract - France); P Gaussorgues 1991 (Hopital Eduoard Herriot, Lyon, France); B Georges 1994 (Hopital de Rangueil, Toulouse, France); JMJ Hammond 1992, PD Potgieter (Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa); S Jacobs (University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom); S Jacobs and M Zuleika (Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); AJH Kerver 1988 (Sint Franciskus Hospital, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Netherlands); AM Korinek 1993 (Hopital Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris, France); AN Laggner 1994 (Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria); FP Lenhart 1994 (University of Munich, Germany); W Lingnau (Leopold-Franzens-Universitat Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria); A Martinez-Pellus and J Rodriguez-Rolda 1990 (University Hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca, El Palmar, Murcia, Spain); M Palomar 1997 (Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain); J Pugin 1991 and P Suter (University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland); C Martin, B Quinio 1995 and J Albanese (Hopital Nord, Marseilles, France); LA Rocha 1992 (Hospital Juan Canalejo, La Coruna, Spain); M Sanchez-Garcia 1992 (Hospital PPE Asturias, Alcala de Henares, Spain); CP Stoutenbeek 1994 (Academisch Ziekenhuis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands); C Ulrich 1989 and J E Harinck-De Weerd (Westeinde Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands); K Unertl 1987 (Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany); J Verhaegen and C Verwaest (University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium); J Wiener 1995 (Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, USA); R Winter 1992 (Queens Medical Centre University Hospital, Nottingham, United Kingdom).

This review was originally initiated at the request of the French Society of Intensive Care in preparation for the consensus conference on Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract (Paris, December 1991) and led to the first publication in 1993 (SDD Group 1993). It was then continued and updated between 1993 and 1998 through resources made available from the Mario Negri Institute, Milan, Italy and an unrestricted grant provided by Hoechst Marion Roussel Italy, the sponsors had no control on the protocol preparation, data analysis and manuscript review and their support was sought after the decision of undertaking the review by the review authors. Since 2004 the review has been updated without any specific research grant attached using institutional resources of the review authors.

Finally, the review authors wish to thank the following referees for commenting on the 2009 updated review: Janet Wale, Tim Kenealy, Max Bulsara, and Jenny Doust.

 

Data and analyses

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
Download statistical data

 
Comparison 1. Topical plus systemic versus no prophylaxis

Outcome or subgroup titleNo. of studiesNo. of participantsStatistical methodEffect size

 1 Overall mortality174075Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.75 [0.65, 0.87]

 2 Mortality according to quality of allocation concealment174075Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.75 [0.65, 0.87]

    2.1 Adequate
103336Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.77 [0.66, 0.90]

    2.2 Not adequate
7739Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.67 [0.48, 0.93]

 3 Mortality according to blinding of the studies174075Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.75 [0.65, 0.87]

    3.1 Double-blind
41013Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.63 [0.48, 0.83]

    3.2 Open
133062Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.80 [0.68, 0.95]

 4 RTIs163024Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.28 [0.20, 0.38]

 5 RTIs according to quality of allocation concealment163024Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.28 [0.20, 0.38]

    5.1 Adequate
92335Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.36 [0.27, 0.47]

    5.2 Not adequate
7689Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.19 [0.10, 0.37]

 6 RTIs according to blinding of the studies163024Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.28 [0.20, 0.38]

    6.1 Double-blind
4963Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.40 [0.30, 0.53]

    6.2 Open
122061Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.22 [0.14, 0.34]

 
Comparison 2. Topical versus control

Outcome or subgroup titleNo. of studiesNo. of participantsStatistical methodEffect size

 1 Overall mortality203016Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.97 [0.82, 1.16]

    1.1 Topical plus systemic versus systemic
71233Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.98 [0.73, 1.32]

    1.2 Topical versus no prophylaxis
131783Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.97 [0.79, 1.20]

 2 Mortality according to quality of allocation concealment203016Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.97 [0.82, 1.16]

    2.1 Adequate
2139Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.64 [0.27, 1.52]

    2.2 Not adequate
182877Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.99 [0.83, 1.18]

 3 Mortality according to blinding of the studies203016Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.98 [0.82, 1.16]

    3.1 Double-blind
152601Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.99 [0.83, 1.20]

    3.2 Open
5415Odds Ratio (M-H, Fixed, 95% CI)0.88 [0.56, 1.37]

 4 RTIs182850Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.44 [0.31, 0.63]

    4.1 Topical plus systemic versus systemic
61115Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.79 [0.56, 1.13]

    4.2 Topical versus no prophylaxis
121735Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.34 [0.21, 0.55]

 5 RTIs according to quality of allocation concealment182850Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.44 [0.31, 0.63]

    5.1 Adequate
191Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.18 [0.04, 0.91]

    5.2 Not adequate
172759Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.46 [0.32, 0.66]

 6 RTIs according to blinding of the studies182850Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.44 [0.31, 0.63]

    6.1 Double-blind
142553Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.52 [0.36, 0.75]

    6.2 Open
4297Odds Ratio (M-H, Random, 95% CI)0.20 [0.10, 0.41]

 

Appendices

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
 

Appendix 1. Embase.com search strategy

1. 'respiratory tract infection'/exp
2. 'respiratory tract infection':ti,ab OR 'respiratory tract infections':ti,ab
3. 'pneumonia'/exp
4. pneumon*:ti,ab
5. hap:ti,ab OR vap:ti,ab
6. bronchopneumonia*:ti,ab OR pleuropneumonia*:ti,ab
7. 'bronchitis'/exp
8. bronchit*:ti,ab OR bronchiolit*:ti,ab
9. 'pharyngitis'/exp
10. pharyngit*:ti,ab
11. 'tracheitis'/exp
12. tracheit*:ti,ab
13. #1 OR #2 OR #3 OR #4 OR #5 OR #6 OR #7 OR #8 OR #9 OR #10 OR #11 OR #12
14. 'intensive care unit'/exp
15. icu:ti,ab OR 'critical care':ti,ab OR 'intensive care':ti,ab OR 'burn unit':ti,ab OR 'burn units':ti,ab OR 'care unit':ti,ab OR 'care units':ti,ab OR 'recovery room':ti,ab OR 'recovery rooms':ti,ab
16. 'critical illness'/exp
17. 'critically ill':ti,ab OR 'critical illness':ti,ab
18. 'ventilator'/exp
19. ventilator*:ti,ab
20. 'artificial ventilation'/exp
21. respirator*:ti,ab
22. #14 OR #15 OR #16 OR #17 OR #18 OR #19 OR #20 OR # 21
23. #13 AND #22
24. 'ventilator associated pneumonia'/exp
25. 'ventilator associated pneumonia':ti,ab
26. #24 OR #25
27. #23 OR #26
28. 'antibiotic prophylaxis'/exp
29. 'antibiotic agent'/exp
30. antibiotic*:ti,ab
31. #28 OR #29 OR #30
32. #27 AND #31
33. 'randomized controlled trial'/exp
34. 'controlled clinical trial'/exp
35. 'single blind procedure'/exp
36. 'crossover procedure'/exp
37. random*:ti,ab OR placebo*:ti,ab OR factorial*:ti,ab OR crossover*:ti,ab OR assign*:ti,ab OR allocat*:ti,ab OR volunteer*:ti,ab OR 'double blind':ti,ab OR 'double blinding':ti,ab OR 'double blinded':ti,ab OR 'single blind':ti,ab OR 'single blinded':ti,ab OR 'single blinding':ti,ab
38. #33 OR #34 OR #35 OR #36 OR #37
39. #32 AND #38

 

What's new

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

Last assessed as up-to-date: 13 March 2009.


DateEventDescription

20 March 2012AmendedByline citation updated.



 

History

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

Review first published: Issue 3, 1997


DateEventDescription

19 May 2011New search has been performedSearches conducted

13 March 2009New search has been performedSearches conducted.

13 March 2009New citation required but conclusions have not changedOne study has been included in this update (Camus 2005). Two studies, whose data were reported in congress proceedings (Lenhart 1994) and were unpublished (Stoutenbeek 2), have been replaced by Krueger 2002 and Stoutenbeek 2007 which are their published versions in peer-reviewed journals.

One study (Jacobs 1995) included in the previous version of this review as a personal contact with the principal investigator, has been excluded due to lack of feedback from the trial author. To date, this study has not been published.

30 January 2008AmendedConverted to new review format

5 September 2003New search has been performedSearches conducted. Updated review published Issue 4, 2002

5 December 1999New search has been performedSearches conducted. Review published Issue 3, 1997

5 December 1995New search has been performedSearches conducted. Updated review published Issue 1, 2004



 

Contributions of authors

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

Alessandro Liberati prepared the protocol and review, oversaw the data collection and critical appraisal of studies, updated the review and prepared the final version of the manuscript.
Roberto D'Amico prepared the protocol and review, oversaw the data collection and critical appraisal of studies, carried out the statistical analysis, updated the review and prepared the final version of the manuscript.
Luca Brazzi collaborated in the preparation of the protocol, the identification of trials and their critical appraisal.
Valter Torri collaborated in the preparation of the protocol and the statistical analysis.
Silvia Pifferi collaborated in the identification and critical appraisal of trials.
Elena Parmelli collaborated in the update of the review.

 

Declarations of interest

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms

None known.

 

Sources of support

  1. Top of page
  2. Background
  3. Objectives
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. Authors' conclusions
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Data and analyses
  10. Appendices
  11. What's new
  12. History
  13. Contributions of authors
  14. Declarations of interest
  15. Sources of support
  16. Index terms
 

Internal sources

  • Italian Cochrane Centre, Italy.

 

External sources

  • No sources of support supplied

* Indicates the major publication for the study

References

References to studies included in this review

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Authors' conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Data and analyses
  11. Appendices
  12. What's new
  13. History
  14. Contributions of authors
  15. Declarations of interest
  16. Sources of support
  17. Characteristics of studies
  18. References to studies included in this review
  19. References to studies excluded from this review
  20. Additional references
  21. References to other published versions of this review
Abele-Horn 1997 {published data only}
  • Abele-Horn M, Dauber A, Bauernfeind A, Russwurm W, Seyfarth-Metzger I, Gleich P, et al. Decrease in nosocomial pneumonia in ventilated patients by selective oropharyngeal decontamination (SOD). Intensive Care Medicine 1997;23(2):187-95.
Aerdts 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Aerdts SJA, van Dalen R, Clasener HAL, Festen J, van Lier HJJ, Vollaard EJ. Antibiotic prophylaxis of respiratory tract infection in mechanically ventilated patients. Chest 1991;100(3):783-91.
Bergmans 2001 {published data only}
  • Bergmans DCJJ, Bonten MJM, Gailard CA, Paling JC, van der Geest S, van Tiel FH, et al. Prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia by oral decontamination: a prospective randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2001;164(3):382-8.
Blair 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Blair P, Rowlands BJ, Lowry K, Webb H, Amstrong P, Smilie J. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract: a stratified, randomized, prospective study in a mixed intensive care unit. Surgery 1991;110(2):303-10.
Boland 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Boland JP, Sadler DL, Stewart W, Wood DJ, Zerick W, Snodgrass KR. Reduction of nosocomial respiratory tract infections in the multiple trauma patients requiring mechanical ventilation by selective parenteral and enteral antisepsis regimen (SPEAR) in the intensive care. XVII Congress of Chemotherapy. 1991.
Brun-Buisson 1989 {published and unpublished data}
  • Brun-Buisson C, Legrand P, Rauss A, Richard C, Montravers F, Besbes M, et al. Intestinal decontamination for control of nosocomial multiresistant Gram-negative bacilli. Annals of Internal Medicine 1989;110(11):873-81.
Camus 2005 {published data only}
  • Camus C, Bellissant E, Sebille W, Perrotin D, Garo B, Legras A, et al. Prevention of acquired infections in intubated patients with combination of two decontaminations regimens. Critical Care Medicine 2005;33(2):307-14.
Cerra 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Cerra FB, Maddaus MA, Dunn DL, Wells CL, Konstantinides NN, Lehmann SL, et al. Selective gut decontamination reduces nosocomial infections and length of stay but not mortality or organ failure in surgical intensive care unit patients. Archives of Surgery 1992;127(2):163-9.
Cockerill 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Cockerill FR III, Muller SR, Anhalt JP, Marsh HM, Farnell MB, Mucha P, et al. Prevention of infection in critically ill patients by selective decontamination of the digestive tract. Annals of Internal Medicine 1992;117(7):545-53.
de Jonge 2003 {published data only}
  • de Jonge E, Schultz JM, Spanjaard L, Bossuyt PMM, Vroom MB, Dankert J, et al. Effects of selective decontamination of digestive tract on mortality and acquisition of resistant bacteria in intensive care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2003;362(9389):1011-6.
Ferrer 1994 {published and unpublished data}
  • Ferrer M, Torres A, Gonzàles J, de la Bellacasa JP, El-Ebiary M, Roca M, et al. Utility of selective digestive decontamination in mechanically ventilated patients. Annals of Internal Medicine 1994;120:389-95.
Finch 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Finch RG, Tomlinson P, Holliday M, Sole K, Stack C, Rocker G. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) in the prevention of secondary sepsis in a medical/surgical intensive care unit. XVII International Congress Chemotherapy. 1991.
Gastinne 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Gastinne H, Wolff M, Delatour F, Faurisson F, Chevret S. A controlled trial in intensive care units of selective decontamination of the digestive tract with nonabsorbable antibiotics. New England Journal of Medicine 1992;326:594-9.
Gaussorgues 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Gaussorgues P, Salord F, Sirodot M, Tigaud S, Cagnin S, Gerard M, et al. [Efficacité de la décontamination digestive sur la survenue des bactériémies nosocomiales chez les patients sous ventilation mécanique et recevant des betamimétiques]. Reanimation, Soins Intensifs, Medicine d'Urgence 1991;7:169-74.
Georges 1994 {published data only}
  • Georges B, Mazerolles M, Decun JF, Rouge P, Pomies S, Cougot P, et al. [Décontamination digestive sélective résultats d'une ètude chez le polytraumatisé]. Reanimation d'Urgence 1994;3:621-7.
Hammond 1992 {published and unpublished data}
Jacobs 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Jacobs S, Foweraker JE, Roberts SE. Effectiveness of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) in an ICU with a policy encouraging a low gastric pH. Clinical Intensive Care 1992;3:52-8.
Kerver 1988 {published and unpublished data}
  • Kerver AJH, Rommes JH, Mevissen-Verhage EAE, Hulstaert PF, Vos A, Verhoef J, et al. Prevention of colonization and infection in critically ill patients: A prospective randomized study. Critical Care Medicine 1988;16:1087.
Korinek 1993 {published and unpublished data}
  • Korinek AM, Laisne MJ, Raskine L, Deroin V, Sanson-Lepors MJ. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract in neurosurgical care units patients: a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Critical Care Medicine 1993;21:1466-73.
Krueger 2002 {published data only}
  • Krueger WA, Lenhart FP, Neeser G, Ruckdeschel G, Schreckhase H, Eissner HJ, et al. Influence of combined intravenous and topical antibiotic prophylaxis on the incidence of infections, organ dysfunctions and mortality in critically ill surgical patients. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2002;166:1029-37.
Laggner 1994 {published and unpublished data}
  • Laggner AN, Tryba M, Georgopoulos A, Lenz K, Grimm G, Graninger W, et al. Oropharyngeal decontamination with gentamicin for long-term ventilated patients on stress ulcer prophylaxis with sucralfate?. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift 1994;106:15-9.
Lingnau 1997 {published and unpublished data}
  • Lingnau W, Berger J, Javorsky F, Lejeune P, Mutz N, Benzer H. Selective intestinal decontamination in multiple trauma patients: prospective, controlled trials. Journal of Trauma 1997;42:687-94.
Lingnau 1997b {published and unpublished data}
  • Lingnau W, Berger J, Javorsky F, Lejeune P, Mutz N, Benzer H. Selective intestinal decontamination in multiple trauma patients: prospective, controlled trials. Journal of Trauma 1997;42:687-94.
Palomar 1997 {published and unpublished data}
  • Palomar M, Alvarez-Lerma F, Jorda R, Bermejo B. Prevention of nosocomial infection in mechanically ventilated patients: Selective digestive decontamination versus sucralfate. Clinical Intensive Care 1997;8:228-35.
Pneumatikos 2002 {published data only}
  • Pneumatikos I, Koulouras V, Nathanail C, Goe D, Nakos G. Selective decontamination of subgloottic area in mechanically ventilated patients with multiple trauma. Intensive Care Medicine 2002;28:432-7.
Pugin 1991 {published and unpublished data}
  • Pugin J, Auckenthaler R, Lew DP, Suter PM. Oropharyngeal decontamination decreases incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia. JAMA 1991;265:2704-10.
Quinio 1995 {published and unpublished data}
  • Quinio B, Albanèse J, Bues-Charbit M, Viviand X, Martin C. Selective Decontamination of the digestive tract in multiple trauma patients: prospective, double blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study. Chest 1996;109:765-72.
Rocha 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Rocha LA, Martin MJ, Pita S, Paz J, Seco C, Margusino L, et al. Prevention of nosocomial infection in critically ill patients by selective decontamination of digestive tract. Intensive Care Medicine 1992;18:398-404.
Rodriguez-Rolda 1990 {published and unpublished data}
  • Rodrìguez-Roldàn JM, Altuna-Cuesta A, Lòpez A, Carrillo A, Garcia J, Leòn J, et al. Prevention of nosocomial lung infection in ventilated patients:use of an antimicrobial pharyngeal nonabsorbable paste. Critical Care Medicine 1990;18:1239-42.
Sanchez-Garcia 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Sanchez-Garcia M, Cambronero JA, Lopez J, Cerda E, Rubio J, et al. Effectiveness and cost of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) in critically ill intubated patients. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, multicentric trial. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 1998;158:908-16.
Stoutenbeek 1996 {published data only}
  • Stoutenbeek CP, Van Saene HKF, Miranda D R, Zandstra DF. The effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tract on colonization and infection rate in multiple trauma patients. Intensive Care Medicine 1984;10:185-92.
Stoutenbeek 2007 {published data only}
  • Stoutenbeek CP, Van Saene HKF, Little RA, Whitehead A. The effect of selective decontamination on the digestive tract on mortality in multiple trauma patients: a multicentre randomized controlled trial. Intensive Care Medicine 2007;33:261-70.
Ulrich 1989 {published and unpublished data}
  • Ulrich C, Harinck-deWeerd JE, Bakker NC, Jacz K, Doornbos L, de Ridder VA. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract with norfloxacin in the prevention of ICU-acquired infections: a prospective randomized study. Intensive Care Medicine 1989;15:424-31.
Unertl 1987 {published and unpublished data}
  • Unertl K, Ruckdeschel G, Selbmann HK, Jensen U, Forst H, Lenhart FP, et al. Prevention of colonization and respiratory infections in long term ventilated patients by local antimicrobial prophylaxis. Intensive Care Medicine 1987;13:106-13.
Verwaest 1997 {published and unpublished data}
  • Verwaest C, Verhaegen J, Ferdinande P, Schets M, Van der Berghe G, Verbist L, et al. Randomized, controlled trial of selective digestive decontamination in 600 mechanically ventilated patients in a multidisciplinary intensive care unit. Critical Care Medicine 1997;25:63-71.
Wiener 1995 {published data only}
  • Wiener J, Itokazu G, Nothan C, Kabins SA, Weinstein RA. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of selective digestive decontamination in a medical-surgical intensive care unit. Clinical Infectious Diseases 1995;20:861-7.
Winter 1992 {published and unpublished data}
  • Winter R, Humphreys H, Pick A, MacGowan AP, Willatts SM, Speller DCE. A controlled trials of selective decontamination of the digestive tract in intensive care and its effect on nosocomial infection. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 1992;30:73-87.

References to studies excluded from this review

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Authors' conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Data and analyses
  11. Appendices
  12. What's new
  13. History
  14. Contributions of authors
  15. Declarations of interest
  16. Sources of support
  17. Characteristics of studies
  18. References to studies included in this review
  19. References to studies excluded from this review
  20. Additional references
  21. References to other published versions of this review
Arnow 1996 {published data only}
  • Arnow PM, Carandanq GC, Irwin ME. Randomized controlled trial of selective bowel decontamination for prevention of infections following liver transplantation. Clinical Infectious Diseases 1996;22:997-1003.
Barret 2001 {published data only}
Bion 1994 {published data only}
  • Bion JF, Badger I, Crosby HA, Hutchings P, Kong KL, Baker J, et al. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract reduces Gram-negative pulmonary colonization but not systemic endotoxemia in patients undergoing elective liver transplantation. Critical Care Medicine 1994;22:40-9.
Bouter 2002 {published data only}
  • Bouter H, Schippers EF, Luelmo SAC, Verteegh MIM, et al. No effect of preoperative selective gut decontamination on endotoxemia and cytokine activation during cardiopulmonary bypass: A randomized, placebo controlled study. Critical Care Medicine 2002;30:38-43.
de la Cal 2005 {published data only}
  • de la Cal MA, Cerdà E, Garcia-Hierro P, et al. Survival benefit in critically hill burned patients receiving selective decontamination of the digestive tract. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Annals of Internal Medicine 1992;117:545-53.
de Smet 2009 {published data only}
Flaherty 1990 {published data only}
  • Flaherty J, Nathan C, Kabins SA, Weinstein RA. Pilot trial of selective decontamination for prevention of bacterial infection in an intensive care unit. Journal of Infectious Diseases 1990;162:1393-7.
Garbino 2002 {published data only}
  • Garbino J, Lew DP, Romand JA, Hogonnet S, Auckenthaler R, Pittet D. Prevention of severe candida infections in nonneutropenic high risk, crically ill patients: a randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trial in patients treated by severe digestive decontamination. Intensive Care Medicine 2002;28:1708-17.
Hellinger 2002 {published data only}
  • Hellinger WC, Yao JD, Alvarez S, Blair JE, et al. A randomized, prospective, double blinded evaluation of selective bowel decontamination in liver transplantation. Transplantation 2002;73:1904-9.
Hunefeld 1989 {published and unpublished data}
  • Hunefeldt G. [Klinische Studie zur selectiven Darmdekolonisation bei 204 langzeitbeatmeten abdominal und unfallchirurgischen Intensivpatienten]. Anaesthesiologie und Reanimation 1989;14:131-53.
Jacobs 1995 {unpublished data only}
  • Jacobs S, Zuleika M. no title. provided by the authors.
Lenhart 1994 {published data only}
  • Lenhart FP, Unertl K, Neeser G, Ruckdeschel G, Eckart J, Peter K. Selective decontamination and sucralfate for prevention of acquired infections in intensive care. 17th International Congress Chemotherapy, Vienna 1994 (K101). 1994.
Lipman 1994 {published and unpublished data}
  • Lipman J, Klugman K, Luyt D, Kraus P, Litmanovitch M, Johnson D, et al. Unique trial design shows SDD to decrease and alter colonization of upper respiractory tract in a multidisciplinary ICU. Critical Care Medicine 1994;22:1.
Luiten 1995 {published data only}
Martinez 1994 {published data only}
  • Martinez PAE, Bru M, Jara P, Ruiz J, Sanmiguel MT, Garcia PT. Does cefotaxime prevent early pneumonia in trauma patients receiving pharyngeal decontamination?. Medicina Intensiva 1994;18:245-9.
Martinez-Pellus 1993 {published data only}
  • Martinez-Pellus AE, Merino P, Bru M, Coneyero R, Seller G, Munoz C, et al. Can selective digestive decontamination avoid the endotoxemia and cytokine activation promoted by cardiopulmonary bypass?. Critical Care Medicine 1993;2:1684-91.
Nardi 2001 {published data only}
  • Nardi G, Di Silvestre A, De Monte A, Massarutti D, Proietti A, Grazia Troncon M, et al. Reduction in gram positive pneumonia and antibiotic consumption following the use of a SDD protocol including nasal nad oral mupirocin. European Journal of Emergency Medicine 2001;8:203-14.
Rayes 2002 {published data only}
  • Rayes N, Seehofer D, Hansen S, Boucsein K, et al. Early enteral supply of lactobacillus and fiber versus selective bowel decontamination: a controlled trial in liver transplant recipients. Transplatation 2002;74:123-8.
Rolando 1996 {published and unpublished data}
  • Rolando N, Wade J, Stangou A, Gimson AE, Wendon J, Philpott-Howard J, et al. Prospective study comparing the efficacy of prophylactic parenteral antimicrobials, with or without enteral decontamination, in patients with acute liver failure. Liver Transplantation and Surgery 1996;2:8-13.
Ruza 1998 {published data only}
  • Ruza F, Alvarado F, Herruzo R, Delgado MA, García S, Dorao P, et al. Prevention of nosocomial infection in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) through the use of selective digestive decontamination. European Journal of Epidemiology 1998;14:719-27.
Schardey 1997 {published and unpublished data}
  • Schardey HM, Joosten U, Finke U, Stanbach KH, Schauer R, Heiss A, et al. The prevention of anastomotic leakage after total gastrectomy with local decontamination. A prospective double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled clinical multicenter trial. Annals of Surgery 1997;225:172-80.
Smith 1993 {published data only}
  • Smith SD, Jackson RJ, Hannakan CJ, Wadowsky RM, Tzakis AG, Rowe MI, et al. Selective decontamination in pediatric liver transplant. A randomized prospective study. Transplantation 1993;55:1306-9.
Stoutenbeek 2 {unpublished data only}
  • Stoutenbeek CP, Van Saene HKF, Little RA, Whitehead A. The effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tratct on mortality in multiple trauma patients.. Contact with authors.
Tetteroo 1990 {published and unpublished data}
  • Tetteroo GWM, Wagenvoort JHT, Castelei A, Tilanus HW, Ince C, Bruining HA. Selective decontamination to reduce gram-negative colonisation and infections after oesophageal resection. Lancet 1990;335:704-7.
Zobel 1991 {published data only}
  • Zobel G, Kutting M, Grubbauer HM, Semmelrock HJ, Thiel W. Reduction of colonization and infection rate during pediatric intensive care by selective decontamination of digestive tract. CritIical Care Medicine 1991;19:1242-6.
Zwaveling 2002 {published data only}
  • Zweveling JH, Maring JK, Klompmaker IJ, Haagsma EB Bottema JT, Laseur M, et al. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract to prevent postoperative infection: a randomized placebo-controlled trial in liver transplant patients. Critical Care Medicine 2002;30(6):1204-9.

Additional references

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Authors' conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Data and analyses
  11. Appendices
  12. What's new
  13. History
  14. Contributions of authors
  15. Declarations of interest
  16. Sources of support
  17. Characteristics of studies
  18. References to studies included in this review
  19. References to studies excluded from this review
  20. Additional references
  21. References to other published versions of this review
Chevret 1996
  • Chevret S, Hemmer M, Carlet J, Langer M. Incidence and risk factors of pneumonia acquired in intensive care units. Results from a multicenter prospective study on 996 patients. European Cooperative Group on Nosocomial Pneumonia. JAMA 1996;275(11):866-9.
Collard 2003
  • Collard HR, Saint S, Matthay MA. Prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia: an evidence-based systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine 2003;138(6):494-501.
Fagon 1996
  • Fagon JY, Chastre J, Vuagnat A, Trouillet JL, Novara A, Gibert C. Nosocomial pneumonia and mortality among patients in Intensive care unit. JAMA 1996;275:866-9.
Heyland 1994
Higgins 2008
  • Higgins JPT, Green S. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Version 5.0.0. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2008.
Hurley 1995
  • Hurley JC. Prophylaxis with enteral antibiotics in ventilated patients: selective decontamination or selective cross-infection?. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 1995;39:941-7.
Kollef 1994
Lefebvre 2008
  • Lefebvre C, Manheimer E, Glanville J. Chapter 6: Searching for studies. In: Higgins JP, Green S editor(s). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2008.
Liberati 2001
Nathens 1999
Redman 2001
  • Redman R, Ludington E. Analysis of respiratory and non-respiratory infections in published trials of selective digestive decontamination. Intensive Care Medicine (14th Annual Congress of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine 2001). 2001, issue Suppl 2:285.
Silvestri 2007
  • Silvestri L, van Saene HKF, et al. Selective decontamination of the digestive tract reduces bacterial bloodstreem infection and mortality in critically ill patients. Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Hospital Infection 2007;65:187-203.
Stoutenbeek 1994
  • Stoutenbeek CP, Van Saene HKF, Miranda DR, Zandstra DF. The effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tract on colonization and infection rate in multiple trauma patients. Intensive Care Medicine 1994;10:185-92.
van Nieuwenhove 2001
  • van Nieuwenhoven CA, Buskens E, van Tiel FH, Bonten MJ. Reletionship between methodological trial quality and the effects of selective digestive decontamination on pneumonia and mortality in critically ill patients. JAMA 2001;286:335-40.
Vanderbrouk-Gra 1991
  • Vanderbrouk-Grauls CM, Vanderbrouke-Grauls JP. Effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tract on respiratory tract infections and mortality in intensive care unit. Lancet 1991;338:859-62.

References to other published versions of this review

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. Objectives
  5. Methods
  6. Results
  7. Discussion
  8. Authors' conclusions
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Data and analyses
  11. Appendices
  12. What's new
  13. History
  14. Contributions of authors
  15. Declarations of interest
  16. Sources of support
  17. Characteristics of studies
  18. References to studies included in this review
  19. References to studies excluded from this review
  20. Additional references
  21. References to other published versions of this review
D'Amico 1998
  • D'Amico R, Pifferi S, Leonetti C, Torri V, Tinazzi A, Liberati A, et al. Effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in critically ill adult patients: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 1998;316:1275-85.
Liberati 1997
Liberati 2002
  • Liberati A, D'Amico R, Pifferi S, Leonetti C, Torri V, Brazzi L, et al. Antibiotics for preventing respiratory tract infections in adults receiving intensive care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002, Issue 4. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000022.pub2]
Liberati 2004
  • Liberati A, D'Amico R, Pifferi, Torri V, Brazzi L. Antibiotic prophylaxis to reduce respiratory tract infections and mortality in adults receiving intensive care. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 1. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000022.pub2]
SDD Group 1993
  • SDD Trialists' Collaborative Group. Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of selective decontamination of the digestive tract. British Medical Journal 1993;307:525-32.