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Can J Hosp Pharm. 2017 Jul-Aug;70(4):288-293. Epub 2017 Aug 31.

Need for a Randomized Controlled Trial of Stress Ulcer Prophylaxis in Critically Ill Children: A Canadian Survey.

Author information

, PhD, RPh, is with the Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
MB, BCh, MSc, is with the Departments of Pediatrics and of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
, MD, is with the Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
, MD, MMEd, is with the Department of Paediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.
, MD, is with the Department of Pediatrics, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Quebec.
, MD, MSc, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.


in English, French


Stress ulcer prophylaxis is commonly used in pediatric critical care, to prevent upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The most frequently used agents are histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The risk-benefit ratio for stress ulcer prophylaxis is uncertain, because data from randomized clinical trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness and harms of prophylaxis in children are limited.


To describe the views of Canadian pediatric intensivists about a future RCT of stress ulcer prophylaxis.


We conducted an online survey of Canadian pediatric critical care physicians. We e-mailed information about the study and a link to a 10-item survey to 111 potential respondents, with 2 reminders for nonrespondents. We assessed the relationship between respondents' characteristics and their views about the need for and potential participation in a trial using logistic regression and assessed regional differences using the χ2 test.


The 68 physicians who replied (61% of potential respondents) had a median of 12 (interquartile range 5-20) years of experience. Forty-four (65%) of the respondents stated that a large, rigorous RCT of stress ulcer prophylaxis in children is needed, and 94% (62 of 66) indicated that it should include a placebo group. The 3 most common designs suggested were a 3-arm trial comparing PPI, H2RA, and placebo (56% [37 of 66 respondents to this question]) and 2-arm trials comparing PPI with placebo (15% [n = 10]) and H2RA with placebo (8% [n = 5]). The 5 patient groups that respondents most commonly stated should be excluded (because they should not receive placebo) were children receiving acid suppression at home (66% [42 of 64 respondents to this question]) or corticosteroids (59% [n = 38]), those with severe coagulopathy or receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (both 36% [n = 23]), and those with burns (31% [n = 20]). Most respondents indicated a willingness to participate in an RCT (64% [42 of 66 respondents to this question]), whereas some (29% [n = 19]) indicated that participation would depend on trial design or funding; only 8% (n = 5) were disinclined to participate.


There is considerable interest in a placebo-controlled RCT of stress ulcer prophylaxis among pediatric critical care physicians in Canada, but consensus on key elements of the trial design is needed.


essai clinique à répartition aléatoire; pediatric critical care; prophylaxie de l’ulcère de stress; randomized controlled trial; soins intensifs pédiatriques; sondage; stress ulcer prophylaxis; survey


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