Do probiotics help prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients? A systematic review with meta-analysis

ERJ Open Res. 2021 Jan 25;7(1):00302-2020. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00302-2020. eCollection 2021 Jan.


BACKGROUND: Probiotic treatments might contribute to the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). Due to its unclear clinical effects, here we intend to assess the preventive effect and safety of probiotics on intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

METHODS: Eligible randomised controlled trials were selected in databases until 30 September 2019. The characteristics of the studies were extracted, including study design, definition of VAP, probiotics intervention, category of included patients, incidence of VAP, mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation (MV) and ICU stay. Heterogeneity was evaluated by Chi-squared and I2 tests.

RESULTS: 15 studies involving 2039 patients were identified for analysis. The pooled analysis suggests significant reduction on VAP (risk ratio, 0.68; 95% Cl, 0.60 to 0.77; p<0.00001) in a fixed-effects model. Subgroup analyses performed on the category of clinical and microbiological criteria both support the above conclusion; however, there were no significant differences in duration of MV or length of ICU stay in a random-effects model. Also, no significant differences in total mortality, overall mortality, 28-day mortality or 90-day mortality were found in the fixed-effects model.

CONCLUSIONS: The probiotics helped to prevent VAP without impacting the duration of MV, length of ICU stay or mortality.

PMID:33532460 | PMC:PMC7836470 | DOI:10.1183/23120541.00302-2020