Benefits and harm of probiotics and synbiotics in adult critically ill patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials with trial sequential analysis

Lee, Zheng Yii and Lew, Charles Chin Han and Ortiz-Reyes, Alfonso and Patel, Jayshil J. and Wong, Yu Jun and Loh, Carolyn Tze Ing and Martindale, Robert G. and Heyland, Daren K. (2023) Benefits and harm of probiotics and synbiotics in adult critically ill patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials with trial sequential analysis. Clinical Nutrition, 42 (4). pp. 519-531. ISSN 0261-5614, DOI

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Background & aims: Several systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials concluded that probiotics administration in critically ill patients was safe and associated with reduced rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia and diarrhea. However, a recent large multicenter trial found probiotics administration, compared to placebo, was not efficacious and increased adverse events. An updated meta-analysis that controls for type-1 and -2 errors using trial sequential analysis, with a detailed account of adverse events associated with probiotic administration, is warranted to confirm the safety and efficacy of probiotic use in critically ill patients.Methods: RCTs that compared probiotics or synbiotics to usual care or placebo and reported clinical and diarrheal outcomes were searched in 4 electronic databases from inception to March 8, 2022 without language restriction. Four reviewers independently extracted data and assessed the study qualities using the Critical Care Nutrition (CCN) Methodological Quality Scoring System. Random-effect meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) were used to synthesize the results. The primary outcome was ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The main subgroup analysis compared the effects of higher versus lower quality studies (based on median CCN score).Results: Seventy-five studies with 71 unique trials (n = 8551) were included. In the overall analysis, probiotics significantly reduced VAP incidence (risk ratio RR] 0.70, 95% confidence interval CI] 0.56 -0.88; I2 = 65%; 16 studies). However, such benefits were demonstrated only in lower (RR 0.47, 95% CI 0.32, 0.69; I2 = 44%; 7 studies) but not higher quality studies (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.73, 1.08; I2 = 43%; 9 studies), with significant test for subgroup differences (p = 0.004). Additionally, TSA showed that the VAP benefits of probiotics in the overall and subgroup analyses were type-1 errors. In higher quality trials, TSA found that future trials are unlikely to demonstrate any benefits of probiotics on infectious complications and diarrhea. Probiotics had higher adverse events than control (pooled risk difference: 0.01, 95% CI 0.01, 0.02; I2 = 0%; 22 studies). Conclusion: High-quality RCTs did not support a beneficial effect of probiotics on clinical or diarrheal outcomes in critically ill patients. Given the lack of benefits and the increased incidence of adverse events, probiotics should not be routinely administered to critically ill patients. Prospero registration: CRD42022302278.(c) 2023 Elsevier Ltd and European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Probiotics; Synbiotics; Critical illness; Systematic review; Meta -analysis; Trial sequential analysis
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine > Anaesthesiology Department
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2023 08:00
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2023 08:00

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