Antibiotic Prophylaxis Could Help Prevent Respiratory Infections in the Critically Ill

April 24, 1998

(Effectiveness of antibiotic prophylaxis in critically ill adult patients: systematic review of randomised controlled trials)

Over 40 per cent of patients who need ventilation in intensive care develop respiratory tract infections. In this week's BMJ Dr Alessandro Liberati et al, from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Italy, investigate the use of antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent this type of infection happening.

The authors found that if the most effective antibiotic prophylaxis was used, the numbers of respiratory tract infections fell by over two thirds and overall mortality was reduced in critically ill patients. However, Liberati et al warn that these positive effects do not take account of potential antibiotic resistance if such a practice was undertaken on a widespread scale and suggest that further research is undertaken in this area.

Contact:

Dr Alessandro Liberati, Italian Cochrane Centre, Laboratory of Health Services Research, Mario Negri Institute, Milan Italy liberati@irfmn.mnegri.it
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BMJ
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