Stress Ulcer Prophylaxis in Critically Ill Children: A Multicenter Observational Study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objective: To describe current stress ulcer prophylaxis practice in Canadian PICUs. Design: Multicenter cohort study. We defined stress ulcer prophylaxis as the use of a proton-pump inhibitor, histamine-2 receptor antagonist, or sucralfate within the first 2 PICU days among children who had not been on these medications at home and had no evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Setting: Seven PICUs in Canada. Patients: Three hundred seventy-eight children requiring mechanical ventilation. Interventions: None. Measurements and Main Results: Children were ventilated for a median (interquartile range) of 2 days (1–6 d) and stayed in the PICU for a median (interquartile range) of 4 days (2–10 d). The median (interquartile range) age was 1.3 years (0.3–6.7 yr). Seventy percent of all children received acid suppression during their PICU stay. One hundred sixty-seven (54%) of the 309 children eligible for stress ulcer prophylaxis received it. Histamine-2 receptor antagonists were the most frequently used class (66%), followed by proton-pump inhibitors (47%) and sucralfate (4%), and 20% received more than one class. Stress ulcer prophylaxis was continued on the PICU transfer orders for 34% of these children. Children who received prophylaxis were older and had a higher Pediatric Risk of Mortality III score, more often received nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and systemic corticosteroids and received less enteral nutrition. In multivariate analysis, age and invasive mechanical ventilation were independently associated with an increased likelihood of receiving stress ulcer prophylaxis and receiving feeds was independently associated with a decreased likelihood of receiving stress ulcer prophylaxis. Gastrointestinal bleeding was reported in 21 (6%) of 378 children; three (0.8%) were clinically important. Eighteen percent were treated for a new respiratory tract infection, and 1% developed Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea. Conclusions: Stress ulcer prophylaxis is common in Canadian PICUs. Clinically important gastrointestinal bleeding and C. difficile–associated diarrhea are rare, and the utility of routine prophylaxis should be examined.


  • Duffett, Mark
  • Chan, Alice
  • Closs, Jordan
  • McGloin, Rumi
  • McKelvie, Greg
  • Pong, Sandra
  • Seto, Winnie
  • Slaney, Heather
  • Vaninetti, Gina
  • Vanniyasingam, Thuva

publication date

  • February 2020

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