Objectives: To compare the prevalence of candidemia and candiduria before and after the introduction of routine use of probiotics in children who received broad-spectrum antibiotics in a PICU.
Design: Retrospective "before and after" study.
Setting: A 12-bed PICU of a teaching hospital in India.
Patients: Children 3 months to 12 years old, admitted to the PICU over two 9 months' time periods, who received broad-spectrum antibiotics for more than 48 hours.
Interventions: Three hundred forty-four patients enrolled between November 2008 and July 2009 after the introduction of routine use of probiotics served as the "probiotic group"; they had received one sachet twice a day of a probiotic mix (EUGI [Wallace Pharma, Goa, India] containing Lactobacillus acidophillus, Lactobacillus rhamnosum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Streptococcus thermophilus) for 7 days. Three hundred seventy-six children enrolled between February 2007 and October 2007 served as "controls." Blood was sent for bacterial and fungal cultures if clinically indicated and urine catheter/bag specimen was submitted for bacterial and fungal culture twice a week as per unit's protocol.
Measurements and main results: Primary outcome was growth of Candida in blood (candidemia), and secondary outcomes were growth of Candida in urine (candiduria), nosocomial bloodstream infections, and urinary tract infections. Data were retrieved from the case records. Candidemia was seen in four of 344 patients (1.2%) in the probiotic group and in 14 of 376 (3.7%) in the control group (relative risk, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.10-0.94; p = 0.03). Candiduria was noted in 37 of 344 patients (10.7%) in the probiotic group and 83 of 376 (22%) in the control group (relative risk, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.34-0.7; p = 0.0001). The prevalence of nosocomial bloodstream infection and urinary tract infection in the probiotic and control groups was 20.3% and 26% (p = 0.07) and 14.2% and 19.1% (p = 0.08), respectively.
Conclusions: Routine use of a mix of probiotics in patients who receive broad-spectrum antibiotics could be a useful strategy to reduce the prevalence of candidemia and candiduria in the PICU.