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Should all patients getting admitted to ICU be given antibiotics?
Dr KK Aggarwal | 16 Sep 2013

Giving people antibiotics before they are admitted to an ICU leads to a drop in patient deaths, as per a Dutch study, said Padma Shri & Dr. B.C. Roy National Awardee Dr. KK Aggarwal

The study, published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine, included nearly 6,000 patients treated at 13 hospitals in The Netherlands between 2004 and 2006. In the study, all the patients were expected to be on a ventilator for at least two days and/or to be admitted to the ICU for at least three days. The patients were grouped into three. The first group was given an oral antibiotic paste four times a day. The second group was given antibiotics through a gastric tube in the intestinal tract and by intravenous drip, plus the antibiotic paste. The third group was given the standard ICU care.

After four weeks, the preventive use of antibiotics reduced the number of deaths by 3.5 percent in the second group, and by 2.9 percent in the first group. The difference between the two groups treated with antibiotics was not significant.

The number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria did not increase in patients receiving antibiotic treatment.