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Original Research: Critical Care |

Impact of the Administration of Probiotics on Mortality in Critically Ill Adult PatientsProbiotics in the ICU: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Damien Barraud, MD; Pierre-Edouard Bollaert, MD, PhD; Sébastien Gibot, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

From the Service de Réanimation Médicale, Hôpital Central, CHU de Nancy, and Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France.

Correspondence to: Sébastien Gibot, MD, PhD, Service de Réanimation Médicale, Hôpital Central, CHU de Nancy, 29, Av du Ml de Lattre de Tassigny, 54000 Nancy, France; e-mail: s.gibot@chu-nancy.fr


For editorial comment see page 590

Funding/Support: The authors have reported to CHEST that no funding was received for this study.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(3):646-655. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1745
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Background:  The objective of this study was to systematically review and quantitatively synthesize all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that have compared important outcomes in critically ill patients who received an administration of probiotics.

Methods:  A systematic literature search of PubMed, Scopus, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was conducted using specific search terms. Eligible studies were RCTs that compared the effect of prebiotics, probiotics, or synbiotics administration with control on ICU and hospital mortality rates in critically ill adult patients. Weighted mean differences (WMDs), pooled ORs, and 95% CIs were calculated using the Mantel-Haenszel fixed- and random-effects models.

Results:  Thirteen trials with 1,439 patients were analyzed. Probiotics did not significantly reduce ICU (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.63-1.15) or hospital (OR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.65-1.23) mortality. By contrast, probiotics administration reduced the incidence of ICU-acquired pneumonia (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.42-0.79) and was associated with a shorter stay in the ICU (WMD, −1.49 days; 95% CI, −2.12 to −0.87 days). Finally, probiotics use was not associated with a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation (WMD, −0.18 days; 95% CI, −1.72-1.36 days) or a shorter hospital length of stay (WMD, −0.45 days; 95% CI, −1.41-0.52 days).

Conclusions:  The present meta-analysis suggests that the administration of probiotics did not significantly reduce ICU or hospital mortality rates but did reduce the incidence of ICU-acquired pneumonia and ICU length of stay.

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