Prophylactic acid suppressants in patients with primary neurologic injury: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    Neurocritical care patients are at risk of stress-induced gastrointestinal ulceration. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of stress ulcer prophylaxis (SUP) in critically ill adults admitted with a primary neurologic injury.

    Materials and methods

    We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing SUP with histamine-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs) or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to placebo/no prophylaxis, as well as to each other. The primary outcome was in-ICU gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB). Predefined secondary outcomes were all-cause 30-day mortality, ICU length of stay (LOS), nosocomial pneumonia, and other complications.


    We identified 14 relevant trials enrolling 1036 neurocritical care patients; 11 trials enrolling 930 patients were included in the meta-analysis. H2RAs resulted in a lower incidence of GIB as compared to placebo or no prophylaxis (Risk ratio [RR] 0.42, 95% CI 0.30-0.58; p < 0.001); PPIs with a lower risk of GIB compared to placebo/no prophylaxis (RR 0.37, 95% CI 0.23-0.59; p < 0.001). No significant difference was observed in GIB comparing PPIs with H2RAs (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.26-1.06; p = 0.07; I2 = 0%).


    In neurocritical care patients, the overall high or unclear risk of bias of individual trials, the low event rates, and modest sample sizes preclude strong clinical inferences about the utility of SUP.

publication date

  • October 2022