Background: The incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) in hospitalised patients is increasing. Critically ill patients are often treated with antibiotics and are at a high risk of developing CDAD. Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (Lp299v) has been found to reduce recurrence of CDAD. We investigated intensive care unit (ICU) patients with respect to the impact of Lp299v on C. difficile colonisation and on gut permeability and parameters of inflammation and infection in that context.
Methods: Twenty-two ICU patients were given a fermented oatmeal gruel containing Lp299v, and 22 received an equivalent product without the bacteria. Faecal samples for analyses of C. difficile and Lp299v were taken at inclusion and then twice a week during the ICU stay. Other cultures were performed on clinical indication. Infection and inflammation parameters were analysed daily. Gut permeability was assessed using a sugar probe technique.
Results: Colonisation with C. difficile was detected in 19% (4/21) of controls but in none of the Lp299v-treated patients (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Enteral administration of the probiotic bacterium Lp299v to critically ill patients treated with antibiotics reduced colonisation with C. difficile.