The hidden reservoir of SDD users

A next little piece of evidence on the effectiveness of Selective Digestive Decontamination (SDD). Nienke Plantinga pooled all data from the 16,528 patients that had been enrolled in a randomized evaluation of SDD since 25 years, in an Individual Patient Data meta-analysis, see. Not surprisingly SDD was associated with better survival in intensive care unit (ICU), as it was in most of the individual studies. Yet, the pooled etsimates also provide more certainty (and precision) on the beneficical effects of SDD on hospital survival and failed to confirm previous suggestions that SDD was more effective in surgical than in medical patients. Continue reading


Synbiotics and neonatal sepsis

With this blog I am leaving my beaten path: neonatal sepsis and probiotics. But so does this double-blind placebo-controlled study published today in Nature. To me, probiotics are still “something promising since 25 years”, without ever having substantiated that promise (like Ajax and the Chicago Cubs, until recently). In fact, colleagues of mine once led a study in which probiotics apparently killed patients with acute pancreatitis. This new study may change my view completely.

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Dead bacteria cannot mutate

As a young and angry PhD student I was confronted with the concept of Selective Digestive Decontamination (SDD). That was in the early nineties (previous millennium). Coming from the field of microbiology I expected that SDD would increase antibiotic resistance. It were intensivists that told me not to worry: “antibiotics in SDD kill bacteria and dead bacteria cannot mutate”. They may have been right, suggests a new study. Continue reading

The Extended Study on Prevalence of Infection in Intensive Care (EPIC III)

On the World Sepsis Day, September 13, 2017, The Extended Study on Prevalence of Infection in Intensive Care (EPIC III) will be performed. EPIC III  is a 24-hour point-prevalence study that will collect data on demographics, infection management, degree of organ dysfunction and patient outcomes in ICUs around the world. The EPIC study was performed in 1992 and EPIC II in 2007. Every ICU can join the project and participation will provide a nice opportunity for data comparison between ICUs, countries and continents.

EPIC III will be observational and non-interventional, and patient data will be anonymous. Data collection will be limited to simple variables that are easy to collect and routinely recorded. Data will be recorded using electronic case report forms (eCRF) (paper versions can be provided if online access is problematic or not available). In each country a coordinating center has obtained ethical approval fort he study, and participation will, therefore, only require informing your ethical committee according to local requirements.

The first EPIC study (the E stood for European) was performed in 1,417 ICUs in 17 countries in Western Europe that enrolled 10,038 patients. The EPIC II study (with the E from Extended) had 13,796 adult patients in 1,265 participating ICUs from 75 countries on the study day. Interested? Contact the study team at this page.

Agent Orange in spinal surgery

This week I learned from an orthopaedic surgeon that randomized trials were something that could be of use in “pharmaceutical sciences”, but that it is well-known that in the “surgical science” retrospective analyses are better for deriving evidence. We came to this when discussing the benefits of powdered vancomycin in the wounds of spinal surgery. Apparently this is something “all spinal orthopaedics do”, because it works so good. Continue reading

Exposed: Dutch clinical microbiologists

Exposed; that’s what we are. We, Dutch clinical microbiologists. Globally acknowledged for our capacity to control antibiotic resistance, prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAI) and practice the most rational and restrictive antibiotic policies. That we are self-confident, loud and arrogant  is taken for granted, as most do with Christiano Ronaldo. But it is with great sadness that I have to announce that it was all FAKE. The balloon was pricked by professor Marcel Levi. Continue reading

Real-time whole genome sequencing (RT-WGS) & spread of resistant bacteria

At last weeks’ ICPIC I crossed arguments with John Rossen on the question whether RT-WGS helps us to control the spread of resistant bacteria. The setting is the hospital and the definition of RT is “in time to guide essential decision making”. Is RT-WGS a “need-to-have” or a “nice-to-have” thing? Continue reading