Opinion: The clinical use of selective digestive decontamination

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24 Scopus citations


Several recent meta-analyses have shown that the use of SDD can reduce the occurrence of nosocomial pneumonia among ventilated patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting. However, the use of SDD has also been demonstrated to increase subsequent patient colonization and infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, particularly Gram-positive cocci. Therefore, the routine use of SDD cannot be advocated at the present time. The mortality benefit of SDD appears to occur in surgical/trauma patients, and to be associated primarily with the administration of parenteral antibiotics. This is already an accepted practice in most patients during the perioperative period (eg prophylactic parenteral antibiotics for 24 h). Prolonged decontamination of the aerodigestive tract with topical antimicrobials does not appear to influence outcome, and should not be routinely employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Intensive care
  • Nosocomial infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Selective digestive decontamination


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