Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-21-2018


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name





School of Nursing

Committee Chair

L. Kathleen Sekula

Committee Member

Martin Schrieber

Committee Member

Thomas Simunich

Committee Member

Denise Lucas


Probiotics, Trauma, Healthcare Associated Infection


The gut microbiome consists of normally non-pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These friendly microbes serve to maintain GI barrier function and integrity, play a role in host nutrient and drug metabolism, immunomodulation, and prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing or causing disease. The importance of a healthy microbiome for the overall health of the host is just recently being appreciated within the medical and science communities. Disruption of the microbiome places one at greater risk for illness and infection. Patients who suffer a traumatic injury are among those at highest risk for complications associated with microbial imbalance, or dysbiosis. In addition to the mechanisms of traumatic injury that can impair one’s immune function, these patients are subjected to a variety of treatments and therapies that account for a tendency toward dysbiosis which can lead to healthcare-acquired infections. These include treatment with antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors, and opioids as well as therapies that require invasive procedures and monitoring. One suggested means to restore immune function and for the prevention of HAIs is to supplement patients with probiotics to restore or replenish host microbiota. However, despite promising findings regarding the efficacy of probiotics for prevention and amelioration of certain HAIs, supplementation with probiotics is not without risks.



Additional Citations

Vitko HA, Sekula LK, Schreiber MA. Probiotics for trauma patients: Should we be taking a precautionary approach? J Trauma Nurs 2017;24:46-52.

Vitko HA, Troxell JJ. Probiotics in the critical care unit: fad, fact, or fiction? J Emerg Crit Care Med 2018.

Included in

Nursing Commons