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Probiotics Reduce Rate of Infection After Liver Transplant

Meta-analysis shows reduction in rate of infection, shorter length of hospital, ICU stay

THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Liver transplant recipients have a lower rate of infection with receipt of prebiotics and probiotics before surgery, according to a meta-analysis published in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Tarek Sawas, M.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the impact of prebiotics and probiotics on infections in patients receiving liver transplants. They identified four controlled studies that included 246 participants (123 received enteric nutrition and fiber [prebiotics] with probiotics, 123 [control group] received only enteric nutrition and fiber without probiotics).

The researchers found that the infection rates were 7 and 35 percent, respectively, in the probiotic and control groups (relative risk, 0.21). To prevent one infection, the number needed to treat was 3.6. In subgroup analyses, the probiotic group had reduced relative risk of urinary tract infection (2 versus 16 percent; relative risk, 0.14) and intra-abdominal infections (2 versus 11 percent; relative risk, 0.27). Subjects receiving probiotics also had shorter hospital and intensive care unit stays (mean difference, 1.41 days for both) and shorter duration of antibiotic use (mean difference, 3.89 days). There was no between-group difference in mortality.

"Based on the meta-analysis, giving patients a combination of probiotics and prebiotics before, or on the day of, liver transplantation reduces the rate of infection after surgery," the authors write.

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