Among critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation, what is the effect of selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) on hospital mortality?
In this randomized clinical trial that included 5982 patients, SDD compared with standard care without SDD did not result in a significant difference in in-hospital mortality (27.0% vs 29.1%, respectively; odds ratio, 0.91).
Among critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation, SDD did not significantly reduce in-hospital mortality compared with standard care without SDD, although the confidence interval around the effect estimate includes a clinically important benefit.
Whether selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) reduces mortality in critically ill patients remains uncertain.
To determine whether SDD reduces in-hospital mortality in critically ill adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A cluster, crossover, randomized clinical trial that recruited 5982 mechanically ventilated adults from 19 intensive care units (ICUs) in Australia between April 2018 and May 2021 (final follow-up, August 2021). A contemporaneous ecological assessment recruited 8599 patients from participating ICUs between May 2017 and August 2021.
ICUs were randomly assigned to adopt or not adopt a SDD strategy for 2 alternating 12-month periods, separated by a 3-month interperiod gap. Patients in the SDD group (n = 2791) received a 6-hourly application of an oral paste and administration of a gastric suspension containing colistin, tobramycin, and nystatin for the duration of mechanical ventilation, plus a 4-day course of an intravenous antibiotic with a suitable antimicrobial spectrum. Patients in the control group (n = 3191) received standard care.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality within 90 days. There were 8 secondary outcomes, including the proportion of patients with new positive blood cultures, antibiotic-resistant organisms (AROs), and Clostridioides difficile infections. For the ecological assessment, a noninferiority margin of 2% was prespecified for 3 outcomes including new cultures of AROs.
Of 5982 patients (mean age, 58.3 years; 36.8% women) enrolled from 19 ICUs, all patients completed the trial. There were 753/2791 (27.0%) and 928/3191 (29.1%) in-hospital deaths in the SDD and standard care groups, respectively (mean difference, −1.7% [95% CI, −4.8% to 1.3%]; odds ratio, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.82-1.02]; P = .12). Of 8 prespecified secondary outcomes, 6 showed no significant differences. In the SDD vs standard care groups, 23.1% vs 34.6% had new ARO cultures (absolute difference, −11.0%; 95% CI, −14.7% to −7.3%), 5.6% vs 8.1% had new positive blood cultures (absolute difference, −1.95%; 95% CI, −3.5% to −0.4%), and 0.5% vs 0.9% had new C difficile infections (absolute difference, −0.24%; 95% CI, −0.6% to 0.1%). In 8599 patients enrolled in the ecological assessment, use of SDD was not shown to be noninferior with regard to the change in the proportion of patients who developed new AROs (−3.3% vs −1.59%; mean difference, −1.71% [1-sided 97.5% CI, −∞ to 4.31%] and 0.88% vs 0.55%; mean difference, −0.32% [1-sided 97.5% CI, −∞ to 5.47%]) in the first and second periods, respectively.
Conclusions and Relevance
Among critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation, SDD, compared with standard care without SDD, did not significantly reduce in-hospital mortality. However, the confidence interval around the effect estimate includes a clinically important benefit.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02389036
The SuDDICU Investigators for the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group. Effect of Selective Decontamination of the Digestive Tract on Hospital Mortality in Critically Ill Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2022;328(19):1911–1921. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.17927
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