Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) is a prophylactic measure aimed at reducing Gram negative flora in the gut with an aim to reduce nosocomial infections such as ventilator-associated pneumonia. A recent large randomized trial in the Netherlands showed that SDD use was associated with reduced mortality in the ICU. Theoretically, SDD may select for Gram positive organisms such as MRSA or VRE. This was not observed in the Dutch study, but the rates of MRSA and VRE are very low in hospitals in the Netherlands. Fears of selection of MRSA and VRE have limited application of SDD in the United States.
In this pilot study, 40 patients in the transplant intensive care unit (where SDD has been used intermittently for at least 10 years), will be randomized to SDD or no SDD. These patients will be known to be VRE positive at baseline. The effects of SDD on the density of VRE in the stool on day 7 compared to pre-SDD will be the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints will be detection of MRSA and colistin resistant Pseudomonas in the stool.