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The effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tract on mortality in multiple trauma patients: a multicenter randomized controlled trial.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • The Working Group on Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)261-270
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Evaluation of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) on late mortality in ventilated trauma patients in an intensive care unit (ICU).
A multicenter, randomized controlled trial was undertaken in 401 trauma patients with Hospital Trauma Index-Injury Severity Score of 16 or higher. Patients were randomized to control (n = 200) or SDD (n = 201), using polymyxin E, tobramycin, and amphotericin B in throat and gut throughout ICU treatment combined with cefotaxime for 4 days. Primary endpoint was late mortality excluding early death from hemorrhage or craniocerebral injury. Secondary endpoints were infection and organ dysfunction.
Mortality was 20.9% with SDD and 22.0% in controls. Overall late mortality was 15.3% (57/372) as 29 patients died from cerebral injury, 16 SDD and 13 control. The odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) of late mortality for SDD relative to control was 0.75 (0.40–1.37), corresponding to estimates of 13.4% SDD and 17.2% control. The overall infection rate was reduced in the test group (48.8% vs. 61.0%). SDD reduced lower airway infections (30.9% vs. 50.0%) and bloodstream infections due to aerobic Gram-negative bacilli (2.5% vs. 7.5%). No difference in organ dysfunction was found.
This study demonstrates that SDD significantly reduces infection in multiple trauma, although this RCT in 401 patients was underpowered to detect a mortality benefit.