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New study shows immune-enhancing therapy reduces infections and shortens hospital stay by almost three days in critically ill

Findings Provide Support of Level 1 Recommendation

ANAHEIM, CA, (December 17, 1999) --- For critically ill patients who have suffered trauma, sepsis or major surgery, tube-fed (enteral) supplements specially designed to boost the immune system (immune-enhancing therapy) significantly reduce infection rates and shorten the length of hospitalization by almost three days. These are results of a new study published in the December issue of Critical Care Medicine.1

When patients suffer trauma, major surgery or sepsis (the presence of pathogenic organisms, or their toxins, in the blood or tissues), their immune systems become depressed, placing them at greater risk for wound, chest and skin infections. Such infections frequently lead to multi-organ failure and, in some cases, death. Use of a ventilator to assist breathing is also often required for critically ill patients and carries risks, such as development of pneumonia and sepsis. In fact, approximately two million Americans admitted to hospitals each year acquire infections there, with treatment costing $4.5 billion annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that 20,000 people die each year as a direct cause of these hospital-acquired infections.2

"Any critically ill patient suitable for enteral feeding may potentially benefit from immune-enhancing enteral feeds," said Richard Beale, M.D., of the Department of Intensive Care, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust, London, UK, and co-author of the study. "Our systematic analysis further reinforces the conclusions of a recent review3 that the use of immune-enhancing formulas represents a level 1 recommendation."

Level 1 is the highest ranking, "strength of evidence" recommendation, based on a method used by the Agency for Health Care Policy Research, U.S. Dept. of Healt
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Contact: Jack Cooley
cooleyj@ruderfinn.com
212-715-1654
Ruder Finn Public Relations
30-Dec-1999


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