Purpose: Most intensive care unit (ICU) patients receive stress ulcer prophylaxis. We present updated evidence on the effects of prophylactic proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) versus placebo/no prophylaxis on patient-important outcomes in adult ICU patients.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) of randomised clinical trials assessing the effects of PPI/H2RA versus placebo/no prophylaxis on mortality, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, serious adverse events (SAEs), health-related quality of life (HRQoL), myocardial ischemia, pneumonia, and Clostridium (Cl.) difficile enteritis in ICU patients.
Results: We identified 42 trials randomising 6899 ICU patients; 3 had overall low risk of bias. We did not find an effect of stress ulcer prophylaxis on mortality [relative risk 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.94-1.14; TSA-adjusted CI 0.94-1.14], but the occurrence of any GI bleeding was reduced as compared with placebo/no prophylaxis (0.60, 95% CI 0.47-0.77; TSA-adjusted CI 0.36-1.00). The conventional meta-analysis indicated that clinically important GI bleeding was reduced (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.48-0.81), but the TSA-adjusted CI 0.35-1.13 indicated lack of firm evidence. The effects of stress ulcer prophylaxis on SAEs, HRQoL, pneumonia, myocardial ischemia and Cl. difficile enteritis are uncertain.
Conclusions: In this updated systematic review, we were able to refute a relative change of 20% of mortality. The occurrence of GI bleeding was reduced, but we lack firm evidence for a reduction in clinically important GI bleeding. The effects on SAEs, HRQoL, pneumonia, myocardial ischemia and Cl. difficile enteritis remain inconclusive.
Keywords: Critical care; Gastrointestinal haemorrhage; Histamine-2 receptor antagonists; Meta-analysis; Peptic ulcer; Proton pump inhibitors; Stress ulcer prophylaxis.