Tube feeding formula acidified using potassium sorbate was well tolerated and reduced gastric bacterial burden in patients recovering from prolonged mechanical ventilation, according to Northwestern researchers.

Researchers conducted the prospective, randomized, double-blind trial on 30 patients recovering from prolonged mechanical ventilation, believing that tube feeding might increase gastric burden of pathogenic bacteria and predispose these patients to ventilator-associated pneumonia.

As part of the study, patients were randomized to receive either a standard tube feeding formula (n = 14) or a formula acidified using potassium sorbate to a pH of 4.25 (n = 16). The results found that the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) per patient was significantly higher in the control than in the treatment group (53% vs 9%).