Friendly Bacteria Cut Hospital Infections
November 06, 2008
LUND, Sweden – Swedish scientists say they have used a probiotic bacterium to control dangerous bacteria that cause respiratory illness in ventilated hospitalized patients.
Bengt Klarin from University Hospital in Lund, Sweden, said he and his colleagues applied the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299 in place of normal antiseptics and found it was effective in preventing the most common cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia.
The randomized, controlled trial involving 50 patients compared friendly bacteria to the normally used antiseptic chlorhexidine.
“We hypothesized that swabbing the mouth with probiotics would be an effective (and microbiologically attractive) method of reducing pathogenic oral microorganisms in intubated, mechanically ventilated, critically ill patients,” said Klarin.
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Ventilator-associated pneumonia, a common complication in patients on breathing machines, occurs when harmful bacteria from the mouth, throat or breathing tube are inhaled into the lungs. Since most people on ventilation are sedated or unable to communicate, initial symptoms of pneumonia can be difficult to identify.
The researchers said they found the probiotic treatment was as effective as the antiseptic treatment and also avoided some of the side effects associated with chlorhexidine.
The study is reported in the journal Critical Care.
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