Background: Since probiotics are considered to exert beneficial health effects by enhancing the host's immune response, we investigated the benefits of a synbiotics treatment on the rate of infections, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), severe sepsis, and mortality in critically ill, mechanically ventilated, multiple trauma patients. Length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) and number of days under mechanical ventilation were also evaluated.
Method: Sixty-five patients were randomized to receive once daily for 15 days a synbiotic formula (Synbiotic 2000Forte, Medipharm, Sweden) or maltodextrin as placebo. The synbiotic preparation consisted of a combination of four probiotics (10(11) CFU each): Pediococcus pentosaceus 5-33:3, Leuconostoc mesenteroides 32-77:1, L. paracasei ssp. paracasei 19; and L. plantarum 2,362; and inulin, oat bran, pectin, and resistant starch as prebiotics. Infections, septic complications, mortality, days under ventilatory support, and days of stay in ICU were recorded.
Results: Synbiotic-treated patients exhibited a significantly reduced rate of infections (P = 0.01), SIRS, severe sepsis (P = 0.02), and mortality. Days of stay in the ICU (P = 0.01) and days under mechanical ventilation were also significantly reduced in relation to placebo (P = 0.001).
Conclusion: The administration of this synbiotic formula in critically ill, mechanically ventilated, multiple trauma patients seems to exert beneficial effects in respect to infection and sepsis rates and to improve the patient's response, thus reducing the duration of ventilatory support and intensive care treatment.