What ICU does to a patient’s gut

Only a handful of pathogenic microbe species remain behind in patients' intestines after a long stay in intensive care, according to a US study.

The findings, published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, may lead to better monitoring and treatment of sepsis.

"I have watched patients die from sepsis,” says senior author John Alverdy, a gastrointestinal surgeon.

"Our hypothesis has always been that the gut microflora in these patients are very abnormal, and these could be the culprits that lead to sepsis," he says.