Implementing selective digestive tract decontamination in the intensive care unit: A qualitative analysis of nurse-identified considerations

Andrea P Marshall, Leonie Weisbrodt, Louise Rose, Eilidh Duncan, Maria Prior, Laura Todd, Elisabeth Wells, Ian Seppelt, Brian Cuthbertson, Jill Francis

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To describe factors senior critical care nurses identify as being important to address when introducing selective digestive tract decontamination (SDD) in the clinical setting.

Critically ill patients are at risk of developing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). SDD is one strategy shown to prevent VAP and possibly improve survival in the critically ill.

We performed a secondary analysis of qualitative data obtained from 20 interviews. An inductive thematic analysis approach was applied to data obtained from senior critical care nurses during phase two of a multi-methods study.

There were four primary considerations identified that should be addressed or considered prior to implementation of SDD. These considerations included education of health care professionals, patient comfort, compatibility of SDD with existing practices, and cost.

Despite a lack of experience with, or knowledge of SDD, nurses were able to articulate factors that may influence its implementation and delivery. Organizations or researchers considering implementation of SDD should include nurses as key members of the implementation team.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalHeart & Lung : The Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number1
Early online date14 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014



  • antibiotic prophylaxis
  • critical illness
  • implementation
  • selective decontamination of the digestive tract
  • ventilator-associated pneumonia

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