Lower gut dysbiosis and mortality in acute critical illness: a systematic review and meta-analysis



The human gastrointestinal tract harbours a complex multi-kingdom community known as the microbiome. Dysbiosis refers to its disruption and is reportedly extreme in acute critical illness yet its clinical implications are unresolved. The review systematically evaluates the association between gut dysbiosis and clinical outcomes of patients early in critical illness.


Following PRISMA guidelines, a prospectively registered search was undertaken of MEDLINE and Cochrane databases for observational studies undertaking metagenomic sequencing of the lower gastrointestinal tract of critically ill adults and children within 72 h of admission. Eligible studies reported an alpha diversity metric and one or more of the primary outcome, in-hospital mortality, or secondary clinical outcomes. After aggregate data were requested, meta-analysis was performed for four studies with in-hospital mortality stratified to high or low Shannon index.


The search identified 26 studies for systematic review and 4 had suitable data for meta-analysis. No effect of alpha diversity was seen on in-hospital mortality after binary transformation of Shannon index (odds ratio 0.52, CI 0.12–4.98, I2 = 0.64) however certainty of evidence is low. Pathogen dominance and commensal depletion were each more frequently associated with in-hospital mortality, adverse clinical and ecological sequelae, particularly overabundance of Enterococcus.


There is a paucity of large, rigorous observational studies in this population. Globally, alpha diversity was dynamically reduced in early ICU admission in adults and children and was not associated with in-hospital mortality. The abundance of taxa such as Enterococcus spp. appears to offer greater predictive capacity for important clinical and ecological outcomes.


Gut, Microbiome, Dysbiosis, Critical illness, Sepsis

Link to Publisher Version (URL)


This document is currently not available here.

Find in your library