Antibiotics for preventing respiratory tract infections in adults receiving intensive care.

A. Liberati, R. D'Amico, S. Pifferi, C. Leonetti, V. Torri, L. Brazzi, A. Tinazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Pneumonia is an important cause of mortality in intensive care units. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of antibiotics for preventing respiratory tract infections and overall mortality in adults receiving intensive care. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched MEDLINE, proceedings of scientific meetings and reference lists of articles from January 1984 to September 1997. We also contacted investigators in the field. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised trials of antibiotic prophylaxis for respiratory tract infections and deaths among adult intensive care unit patients. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Trials were assessed for quality and investigators contacted for additional information. MAIN RESULTS: Overall 33 trials involving 5727 people were included. There was variation in the antibiotics used, patient characteristics and the risk of respiratory tract infections and mortality in the control groups. In 16 trials (involving 3493 patients) of a topical and systemic antibiotic combination, the average rates of respiratory tract infections and deaths in the control group were 33% and 28% respectively. There was a significant reduction of both respiratory tract infections (odds ratio 0.36, 95% confidence interval 0.30 to 0. 43) and total mortality (odds ratio 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0. 68 to 0.93). On average five patients needed to be treated to prevent one infection and 23 treated to prevent one death. In 17 trials (involving 2366 patients) of topical antimicrobials the rates of respiratory tract infections and deaths in the control groups were 30% and 24% respectively. There was a significant reduction of respiratory tract infections (odds ratio 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.46 to 0.69) but not in total mortality (odds ratio 1.01, 95% confidence interval 0.84 to 1.22). REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: A combination of topical and systemic prophylactic antibiotics can reduce respiratory tract infections and overall mortality in adult patients receiving intensive care. [This abstract has been prepared centrally.]

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Cochrane database of systematic reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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