Original

Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 854-861

Effect of synbiotic therapy on the incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia in critically ill patients: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

  • David J. W. KnightAffiliated withDepartment of Intensive Care, Christchurch Hospital
  • , Dale GardinerAffiliated withDepartment of Critical Care, Queen’s Medical Centre
  • , Amanda BanksAffiliated withDepartment of Critical Care, Queen’s Medical Centre
  • , Susan E. SnapeAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Queen’s Medical Centre
  • , Vivienne C. WestonAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Queen’s Medical Centre
  • , Stig BengmarkAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, University College London
  • , Keith J. GirlingAffiliated withDepartment of Critical Care, Queen’s Medical CentreAdult Intensive Care Unit, Queen’s Medical Centre Email author 

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate the effect of enteral Synbiotic 2000 FORTE® (a mixture of lactic acid bacteria and fibre) on the incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP) in critically ill patients.

Design

Prospective, randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial.

Setting

Tertiary referral centre, general Adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Patients and participants

259 enterally fed patients requiring mechanical ventilation for 48 h or more were enrolled.

Intervention

All patients were enterally fed as per a standard protocol and randomly assigned to receive either synbiotic 2000 FORTE® (twice a day) or a cellulose-based placebo for a maximum of 28 days.

Measurements and results

Treatment group (n = 130) was well matched with placebo group (n = 129) for age (mean 49.5 and 50 years, respectively) and APACHE II score (median 17 for both). Oropharyngeal microbial flora and colonisation rates were unaffected by synbiotics. The overall incidence of VAP was lower than anticipated (11.2%) and no statistical difference was demonstrated between groups receiving synbiotic and placebo in the incidence of VAP (9 and 13%, P = 0.42), VAP rate per 1,000 ventilator days (13 and 14.6, P = 0.91) or hospital mortality (27 and 33%, P = 0.39), respectively.

Conclusions

Enteral administration of Synbiotic 2000 FORTE® has no statistically significant impact on the incidence of VAP in critically ill patients.

Keywords

Probiotics Enteral nutrition Nosocomial infections Intensive care