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Alterations in Gut Microbiome Noted Within 72 Hours of Injury

Last Updated: October 25, 2017.

Critically injured patients develop changes in the composition of the gut microbiome within 72 hours, according to a study published online Oct. 23 in Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Critically injured patients develop changes in the composition of the gut microbiome within 72 hours, according to a study published online Oct. 23 in Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open.

Benjamin M. Howard, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues examined whether the gut microbiome would undergo significant compositional changes in the first 72 hours after injury. The authors prospectively collected trauma stool samples via digital rectal examination at the time of presentation. Additional stool samples were collected at 24 and/or 72 hours from 12 patients admitted to the intensive care unit. Ten uninjured patients served as controls.

The researchers found that there were no detectable differences in gut microbial diversity between injured and uninjured patients at baseline. Within 72 hours, injured patients developed changes in gut microbiome composition that were characterized by significant alterations in phylogenetic composition and taxon relative abundance. In the 72-hour time frame, members of the bacterial orders Bacteroidales, Fusobacteriales, and Verrucomicrobiales were depleted, while Clostridiales and Enterococccus members were significantly enriched.

"This rapid change in intestinal microbiota represents a critical phenomenon that may influence outcomes after severe trauma," the authors write. "A better understanding of the nature of these post-injury changes may lead to the ability to intervene in otherwise pathological clinical trajectories."

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