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Gut Microbiota Disruption in Septic Shock Patients: A Pilot Study

You-Dong Wan, Rui-Xue Zhu, Zi-Qian Wu, Shao-Yan Lyu, Lian-Xing Zhao, Zhong-Jun Du, Xin-Ting Pan

(Department of Emergency, Intensive Care Unit, The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:8639-8646

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.911768

BACKGROUND: The composition of the intestinal microbiota and its effect on septic shock patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) is unknown. In the present study we explored the hypothesis that bacterial diversity is decreased in septic shock patients and that this diversity may be improved by use of probiotics or enteral nutrition.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 15 stool samples were collected prospectively from septic shock patients in the ICU, while 15 samples from healthy subjects served as controls. Bacterial DNA was submitted for 16S rDNA gene sequencing. The relationship between intestinal microbiota and prognosis was evaluated.
RESULTS: Significantly lower bacterial diversity was found in septic shock patients compared with healthy subjects (p<0.05). However, there was no difference in bacterial diversity in the presence or absence of probiotics (p=0.59), enteral nutrition (p=0.59), or in-hospital death (p=0.93) in septic shock patients. A high abundance of Proteobacteria and Fusobacteria was observed in most septic shock patients, whereas low abundance was observed in healthy subjects (mean relative proportion: 23.71% vs. 3.53%, p<0.05; 1.27% vs. 0.12%, p=0.59).
CONCLUSIONS: Bacterial diversity was decreased, and 1 or 2 rare bacterial species were overgrown in septic shock patients. Bacterial diversity was not improved by use of probiotics or enteral nutrition. The small sample size of our study limits the interpretation of results.

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