Stress ulcer prophylaxis in critical illness: a Canadian survey Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Stress ulcer prophylaxis (SUP) using histamine-2-receptor antagonists has been a standard of care in intensive care units (ICUs) for four decades. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are increasingly used despite apparently lower background rates of gastrointestinal bleeding and growing concerns about PPI-associated complications. Our objective was to understand the views and prescribing habits amongst Canadian physicians regarding SUP in the ICU and to gauge interest in a future randomized-controlled trial (RCT). METHODS: We created a short self-administered survey about SUP for critically ill adults, evaluated its clinical sensibility, and pilot tested the instrument. We surveyed all physician members of the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group (CCCTG) by e-mail and sent reminders three and five weeks later. RESULTS: We received 94 of 111 (85%) surveys from the validated respondent pool between May and June, 2015. Respondents reported use of SUP most commonly in patients 1) receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (62, 66%), 2) expected to be ventilated for ≥ two days (25, 27%), or 3) receiving mechanical ventilation but nil per os (NPO) (20, 21%). Stress ulcer prophylaxis is discontinued when patients no longer receive mechanical ventilation (75%), no longer are NPO (22%), or are discharged from the ICU (19%). Stress ulcer prophylaxis involves PPIs in 68% of centres. Most respondents endorsed the need for a large rigorous RCT of PPI vs placebo to understand the risks and benefits of this practice. CONCLUSIONS: Stress ulcer prophylaxis is reportedly used primarily for the duration of mechanical ventilation. The CCCTG physicians believe that a placebo-controlled RCT is needed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of contemporary SUP with PPIs.


  • Shears, Melissa
  • Al-Hazzani, Waleed
  • Marshall, John C
  • Muscedere, John
  • Hall, Richard
  • English, Shane W
  • Dodek, Peter M
  • Lauzier, François
  • Kanji, Salmaan
  • Duffett, Mark
  • Barletta, Jeffrey
  • Alshahrani, Mohammed
  • Arabi, Yaseen
  • Deane, Adam
  • Cook, Deborah

publication date

  • June 2016