Probiotics could be used to protect critically ill patients from developing pneumonia, according to scientists.
The friendly bacteria can block the colonisation by dangerous bugs of the airways of ventilated patients, the Swedish study concluded. The probiotic solution performed just as well as normal antiseptics used to keep pneumonia-causing bacteria at bay, the journal Critical Care reported.
Being more natural it could pose fewer side effects, the authors said.
The probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum 299 is normally present in saliva and is also commonly found in fermented products like pickles and sauerkraut. Although rare, some patients are allergic to the antiseptics normally used to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia, namely chlorhexidine.
There is also a very small risk of the pneumonia-causing bacteria developing chlorhexidine resistance. Pneumonia is a common complication in patients on breathing machines and occurs when harmful bacteria from the mouth, throat or breathing tube are inhaled into the lungs.
Source - BBC