Stress ulcer prophylaxis in pediatric intensive care units

J Pediatr (Rio J). Nov-Dec 2010;86(6):525-30. doi: 10.2223/JPED.2046.


Objective: To assess use of stress ulcer prophylaxis in patients admitted to five pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Methods: This was a multicenter, prospective, cross-sectional observational study. PICUs were visited on randomly defined days between April 2006 and February 2007, and the medical records of admitted patients were reviewed. Patients whose records had been previously assessed were excluded, as were those with upper gastrointestinal bleeding on admission. Data were collected on age, gender, admission diagnosis, severity of illness, administration of stress ulcer prophylaxis, rationale for prophylaxis, and first-line prophylactic agent of choice. Variables were described as absolute and relative frequencies, mean and standard deviation, or median and interquartile range as appropriate. Pearson's chi-square test for linear trend or Fisher's exact test were used to assess possible associations. The level of significance was set at 5% (p ≤ 0.05).

Results: 398 patients (57% male) were assessed [median age, 16 months (IQR 4-65); median length of PICU stay, 4 days (IQR 1-9)]. Respiratory illness was the main reason for admission (32.7%). Most patients received stress ulcer prophylaxis (77.5%; range, 66-91%). Mechanical ventilation (22.3%) was the most common rationale provided, followed by informal routine use of prophylaxis (21.4%). Only one of the participating PICUs had a specific care protocol for use of stress ulcer prophylaxis. Ranitidine was the most commonly used drug (84.5% of cases). Evidence of minor gastrointestinal bleeding was found in 3% of patients; none had clinically significant bleeds.

Conclusions: Administration of stress ulcer prophylaxis is a common practice in the participating PICUs, with ranitidine the most commonly used drug. Among the various rationales provided, mechanical ventilation and informal routine use were the most prevalent.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Male
  • Peptic Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ranitidine / pharmacology*
  • Respiration, Artificial*


  • Ranitidine