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J Trauma. 1991 Apr;31(4):531-6; discussion 536-7.

Role of gastric colonization in the development of pneumonia in critically ill trauma patients: results of a prospective randomized trial.

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Department of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University, Providence 02903.


Critically ill trauma patients were entered in a prospective, randomized trial to determine the role of gastric colonization in the development of pneumonia. Trauma patients admitted to the SICU were randomized to receive antacids (n = 27), continuous IV cimetidine (n = 32), or sucralfate (n = 30). Quantitative nasogastric tube (NGT) cultures were obtained biweekly and correlated with gastric pH, the incidence of pneumonia, and the incidence of pneumonia caused by an organism previously isolated from the stomach (percentage of gastric source of pneumonia--% GSP). Patients receiving antacids had a significantly greater pH than those receiving cimetidine (5.6 +/- 1.03 vs. 4.7 +/- 1.03; p = 0.006). However, there was no significant difference between the overall incidence of pneumonia, the percentage of NGT isolates greater than 10(6)/ml, or the % GSP. The gastric bacteriology of the three subgroups was nearly identical, with Candida albicans, Enterococci, and beta-hemolytic Streptococci being the most frequently isolated organisms. Gastric growth of organisms preceding their appearance in the blood occurred in 5 of 89 (5.6%) patients. These results suggest that 1) in trauma patients, the incidence of pneumonia is not increased by the use of stress ulcer prophylactic agents that elevate gastric pH; 2) increases in gastric pH progressively increased the number of intragastric bacteria but this did not correlate with an increased incidence of % GSP; and 3) while organisms in the upper intestinal tract may be pathogens for pneumonia, they are uncommonly a source of bacteremia in seriously injured patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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