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Prevention of severe Candida infections in nonneutropenic, high-risk, critically ill patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients treated by selective digestive decontamination

Jorge Garbino| Daniel P. Lew| Jacques-A. Romand| Stéphane Hugonnet| Raymond Auckenthaler| Didier Pittet
Volume 28, Issue 12 / December , 2002

Pages 1708 - 1717


Objective. Infections caused by Candida spp. are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients and usually develop from endogenous colonization. We assessed the effectiveness of adding fluconazole to a selective digestive decontamination regimen to prevent candidal infections.

Design and setting. We performed a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial among medical and surgical intensive care unit patients at a large university hospital.

Patients. All adult patients mechanically ventilated for at least 48 h with an expectation to remain so for at least an additional 72 h, and receiving selective decontamination of the digestive tract.

Interventions. Patients were randomly assigned fluconazole 100 mg daily (n=103) or placebo (n=101).

Measurements and results.Candida infections occurred less frequently in the fluconazole group (5.8%) than in the placebo group (16%; rate ratio 0.35; Cl95 0.11–0.94). Some 90% of candidemia episodes occurred in the placebo group (rate ratio for fluconazole use 0.10; Cl95 0.02–0.74). The rate of treatment failure, development of candidal infection, or increased colonization, was 32% in the fluconazole group and 67% in the placebo group (P<0.001). Crude in-hospital mortality was similar in the two groups (39% fluconazole vs. 41% placebo).

Conclusions. Prophylactic use of fluconazole in a selected group of mechanically ventilated patients at high risk for infection reduces the incidence of Candida infections, in particular candidemia.


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