Selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) is a prophylactic strategy designed to minimise the infection-related morbidity and mortality in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) [1, 2]. Effective and safe use of the SDD method of infection prevention requires a full understanding of this strategy and of its aims and limitations. The concept of SDD is based on three pillars: (1) 14 (15 if MRSA is included) microorganisms are responsible for over 95% of infections in ICU patients; (2) infections in ICU patients are classified into primary endogenous, secondary endogenous and exogenous infections; and (3) effective and safe infection control of the three types of infection requires the full four-component SDD protocol. This chapter describes the principles behind the SDD concept, the four components of the SDD strategy, and the main differences between traditional and SDD microbiology.


Intensive Care Unit Patient Lower Airway Tracheal Aspirate Surveillance Culture Intensive Care Unit Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans J. Rommes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Intensive CareGelre ZiekenhuizenApeldoornThe Netherlands

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