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Probiotic therapy cuts risk of VAP in half for some in ICU
Date:6/16/2010

Daily use of probiotics reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in critically ill patients by almost half, according to new research from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska.

The study was published on the American Thoracic Society's Web site ahead of the print edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

It is estimated that VAP complicates the care of up to 30 percent of critical care patients receiving mechanical ventilation. "Patients with VAP have increased morbidity, mortality and hospital costs as well as prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital lengths of stay, and increased costs."

"We chose to study probiotics in this context because VAP is increasingly caused by pathogens associated with antimicrobial resistance and the supply of novel antibiotics is essentially nonexistent for the foreseeable future," said Lee E. Morrow, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of medicine at Creighton University and lead author. "The implication is that novel methods of prevention must be our priority."

Although previous studies have suggested that probiotics might be effective in reducing risk of VAP, the results have been limited by the quality of their design.

"We were unsure what to expect with this trial," said Dr. Morrow. "Ultimately our hope was that upon completion of this 'proof of concept' study we could demonstrate two critically important points in a patient group at high risk for developing VAP: One, that properly selected probiotic agents can be safely administered to critically ill patients; and, two, when administered to the proper study population these agents also have efficacy in disease prevention. We felt that rigorously establishing these suppositions as facts was essential in order to continue to study probiotic agents in the intensive care unit setting."

Dr. Morrow and colleagues included 138 critically ill patients from
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-860-5814
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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