Preemies may benefit from probiotics; may reduce risk of necrotizing enterocolitis

July 1, 2007

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The use of probiotics in premature infants may reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, accord-ing to study findings published in the May 12 issue of the Lancet.

Sanjay Patole, DrPH, of the King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women in Western Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of seven controlled trials comprising 1,393 preterm new-borns with very low birthweight who were randomized to receive or not receive probiotic supplementation.

Supplementation with probiotics reduced the risk of developing necrotizing enterocolitis by 64%, and reduced the mortality risk by 53%, compared to the control groups. Risk of sepsis was similar between the two groups.

Deshpande G, Rao S, Patole S. Probiotics for prevention of necrotising enterocolitis in preterm neonates with very low birthweight: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2007;369:1614-1620.