Effects of Probiotics on Necrotizing Enterocolitis, Sepsis, Intraventricular Hemorrhage, Mortality, Length of Hospital Stay, and Weight Gain in Very Preterm Infants: A Meta-Analysis
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Probiotics are increasingly used as a supplement to prevent adverse health outcomes in preterm infants. We conducted a systematic review, meta-analysis, and subgroup analysis of findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to assess the magnitude of the effect of the probiotics on health outcomes among very-low–birth-weight (VLBW) infants. Relevant articles from January 2003 to June 2017 were selected from a broad range of databases, including Medline, PubMed, Scopus, and Embase. Studies were included if they used an RCT design, involved a VLBW infant (birthweight <1500 g or gestational age <32 wk) population, included a probiotic intervention group, measured necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) as a primary outcome, and measured sepsis, mortality, length of hospital stay, weight gain, and intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) as additional outcomes. The initial database search yielded 132 potentially relevant articles and 32 (n = 8998 infants) RCTs were included in the final meta-analysis. Subgroup analysis was used to evaluate the effects of the moderators on the outcome variables. In the probiotics group, it was found that NEC was reduced by 37% (95% CI: 0.51%, 0.78%), sepsis by 37% (95% CI: 0.72%, 0.97%), mortality by 20% (95% CI: 0.67%, 0.95%), and length of hospital stay by 3.77 d (95% CI: −5.94, −1.60 d). These findings were all significant when compared with the control group. There was inconsistent use of strain types among some of the studies. The results indicate that probiotic consumption can significantly reduce the risk of developing medical complications associated with NEC and sepsis, reduce mortality and length of hospital stay, and promote weight gain in VLBW infants. Probiotics are more effective when taken in breast milk and formula form, consumed for <6 wk, administered with a dosage of <109 CFU/d, and include multiple strains. Probiotics are not effective in reducing the incidence of IVH in VLBW infants.
Advances in Nutrition
Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified