Washington: Regular use of probiotics, orlive microorganisms, may reduce by almost half the risk ofventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) that complicatestreatment of about 30 per cent of critically ill patientsunder mechanical ventilation care, a new research has claimed. The study by researchers from Creighton UniversitySchool of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, found that daily use ofprobiotics not only decreased VAP infections by about 50 percent, but also reduced the amount of antibiotics needed.
This reduction in antibiotic consumption led tosignificantly fewer Clostridium difficile infections -- whichcauses diarrhea and other intestinal disease -- in patientsgiven probiotics. No side effects attributable to theprobiotics were observed. "Collectively, these data suggest that Lactobacillus mayrepresent a novel, inexpensive and non-antibiotic approach toprevention of nosocomial infections in properly selected ICUpatients," said Dr Morrow. However, he said their findings are not applicable toall ICU patients and probiotics should not be used for VAPprophylaxis beyond the population that was included in thisstudy. "We strongly emphasise that these data should be viewedas preliminary in nature and cannot be generalised to thegeneral ICU population ..." Other studies have found potentially harmful effects ofprobiotics, underscoring the need for meticulous monitoring ofpatients. PTI