Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for the Critically Ill Patient

Berkeley N. Limketkai, Steven Hendler, Peng sheng Ting, Alyssa M. Parian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The gut microbiome has been implicated in a diversity of diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatic steatosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and anxiety. Current research also suggests the presence of a bidirectional relationship between the composition of the gut microbiome and critical illness. In the critical care setting, multiple factors (eg, use of antibiotics, aberrant nutrition, bloodstream infections, bowel ischemia, and abnormal bowel motility) strongly contribute to intestinal dysbiosis. Conversely, early studies have associated intestinal dysbiosis with worse clinical outcomes in the intensive care unit (ICU), such as infection, organ failure, and mortality. The possibility of intestinal dysbiosis influencing these clinical outcomes has prompted the question of whether microbiome manipulation strategies, such as fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), may have a role in the management of critical illness. After a literature search of FMT used in the ICU for indications other than Clostridium difficile infections, we found 4 case reports that describe the use of FMT in 5 critically ill patients with systemic inflammatory responses and no clear source of infection. This review discusses the relationship between the gut microbiome and critical illness, early data on the use of FMT in critical care, and safety considerations of FMT in the critically ill and immunocompromised populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • critical illness
  • diarrhea
  • fecal microbiota transplantation
  • gastrointestinal microbiome
  • microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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